29 April 2014

Reading Lately: The Goldfinch, American Pastoral & The Racketeer

I stayed up way too late a couple nights ago finishing The Racketeer -- a John Grisham novel. It isn't high-quality literature, but it was a story that made me want to know what was going to happen and it was written in an easy-to-read way that wasn't trying to show off. It also wasn't a typical Southern lawyer facing big business in a huge trial storyline. But it was a satisfying read, and I liked it. I have tried recently to read a couple Pulitzer Prize-winning books, and neither really floated my boat. I'm not sure what that says about me, but I thought I'd record it here anyway.

I actually read all of The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, and I didn't like it much at all. It wasn't necessarily hard to get through, but it just didn't interest me. I was more interested in the beginning half of the book, which seems to be a theme running through other reviews that have shown up in my feed reader. But a lot of the time I didn't like the main character and thought every single decision he made was ridiculous. It wasn't as bad at the beginning because he was an adolescent in a tragic situation. But by the end it was just "AH, WTF" kind of stuff. Anyway, I don't recommend it, unless you like different things than me, which you might, so make your own choices. Amirite?

I did NOT make it through the entire American Pastoral book, a 1990s Pulitzer winner by Philip Roth, that I'd seen on several "must read to be a well-read person" kind of lists. I never got into the story, never cared about the characters and found myself slogging through and forcing it. I made it to the halfway point (and this was a paper book I checked out of the library). After keeping the book for six weeks I finally decided "ain't nobody got time for this" and gave myself a pass, returning the book with no intention of ever completing it.

I'm trying to read another Donna Tartt book -- someone who wrote about The Goldfinch (and hated it) said that she loves The Secret History, so I decided to give it a try. So far it's a little weird, and definitely not beach reading/chick lit, but I don't hate it as much as The Goldfinch, so that's a plus.

At the beginning of this year I had a string of great choices books and was devouring several each week. Things have slowed down now that I've hit on a few duds. I've been crocheting a bit more to fill the time I guess? I think I might need to reboot and read some chick lit or similar to shake out my cobwebs. I've got a Nicholas Sparks novel on my bookshelf calling my name...

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