Returned from a week spent in a renovated boat house on a pier in Maine. In a working lobster fishermen's village, no less. But I'm in no mood to talk about it. What started out a promisingly dream-like vacay turned into yet another soul-sucking episode in which I begged God for instantaneous passage into the next world.
But I will talk about what I read: the good, the really good and the break out the shredder.
The Hunger Games is required reading this summer for the high school students in our community. Once school starts they'll take a quiz on it. Only, my daughter's told me these quizzes are such a joke even those who haven't bothered reading the books pass them with ease.
Hey, that's great!
Anyway, it's pretty good. Not great, but good. It's a dystopic, futuristic story about government control via "hunger games," in which two representative children from each of several communities are thrown into a controlled environment, required to kill each other until one victor emerges. Grim, yes, but I liked it.
[I read our family's copy of the book.]
This one's the next read for the fiction book group I've been running at the library. A little moralistic, but often in a good way (i.e.: one that doesn't annoy me). As the title says, "More from The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency." Lots of fun, great info on the culture of Botswana, and an overall good, light read for vacation.
[Read my personal copy of the book]
The intertwined stories of poets Alfred, Lord Tennyson and John Clare, based on a true story. John Clare's a raving lunatic in an asylum where Tennyson's brother is also a patient. Good news is the prose sings, and you don't have to be familiar with either poet to enjoy the book. I've read some Tennyson, as part of my undergrad degree in English literature, but not one word of John Clare, and I liked the book very much. For those, like me, who love "hearing" the inner workings of the mad it was a pleasure.
[Read a review copy of the book.]
For the Shredder:
The first third or so of this book was dead brilliant. A virus is accidentally unleashed upon the American public, changing human beings into savage, murderous creatures, forcing the general populace to kill or be killed. A young girl seems to have otherworldly powers and a supernatural understanding of what's happened and how to end it. After that it turned so hokey I wanted to rip the damn thing in half. I fast-forwarded to the ending, though I wish I hadn't. It still makes me feel nauseous thinking about it. Not because it was graphic, oh no. Because it was so inane and stupid I couldn't believe the same person wrote the beginning. Alien abduction, perhaps?
[Read my own copy of the book. Unfortunately.]
And, finally… A book so putrid from paragraph one I hardly needed to read further. Unfortunately, I did, though not much further. Not worthwhile commenting more, since I came nowhere near finishing it, but on behalf of really bad writers everywhere I'm incensed. This man makes of mockery of us all.
And T.C. Boyle, who praised it in his cover blurb? Man, you write like an angel! Who drugged you and forced this quote out of you? Who? Who?
[Didn't officially read a review copy of this book.]
And that's a wrap.