Friday, December 31, 2010

BOOKS: Not Finished in 2010

It takes a long time for me to decide to put down a book. I like to hope that it will get better as sometimes books don't pick up until half way through. I also keep reading for a while, analyzing why I'm not liking the book. Generally, once I start thinking that, it does make it hard for the book to pick up.  For different reasons, each of the following did not get finished.

The Lost Highway by David Adams Richards, read 125/380, + last 15 pages

I've liked other books by Richards, (see Hockey Dreams and Mercy Among the Children.) I actually tried to read this one other time, but didn't get past page 25, so I gave this try a much better effort. It really just never worked for me.

Ultimately, this is a tragedy, with the lead character just so awful I didn't care to see his downfall. Alex Chapman is a hypocrite, and possibly deranged; the part I read set up his revenge filled mind by telling his life story. He was easily bullied, and then blamed everyone while teaching an ethics class. His hated uncle has a winning lottery ticket, and Alex hopes to get it for himself. I've read this described as a mystery thriller, but I never got the to mystery part. I know by the time I stopped, my hope was that Alex never got the money. I read the last few pages (thanks Jenny!)  and was glad I didn't read any more.

I recognize some similar themes with Mercy Among the Children, along with characters like the local priest, university types, innocent country girls, plus the Miramichi setting. Fans of tragedies, and moral studies may enjoy this one. I'm still a fan of Adams but not of pathetic tragedies. I didn't like Romeo and Juliet either.

The Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore, read 67/321

New York Times Notable Book of 2009; Long listed for the Orange Prize in 2010

Another book that was taking forever for anything to happen and I just wasn't interested in keeping on. I kept falling asleep, and didn't like any of the characters enough to want to keep reading.

I don't have anything particularly bad to say about this one, there are just too many books I'd rather read.

Candy Girl by Diablo Cody, read about half

Cody wrote Juno, the delightfully quirky movie, and won an Oscar for the screenplay. This was her account as a stripper in Minneapolis before she hit the big time in Hollywood. The whole book felt like she only tried stripping so she'd have material for the book. She seemed scornful of the other strippers, as if it was all beneath her. The chapters were short, and the writing was good and easy to read. I had just read enough of her faux stripping history.