Friday, January 9, 2015

Finally at Five

I only read one book on the list this week and that is because I needed to cleanse my palate after the Jodi Picoult fiasco. A quiet interlude with a 785-page Pulitzer Prize winner did the trick nicely. Funny story though, it turns out the Picoult picker didn’t even remember the book! It was a beach read that she instantly forgot and thus, was very, very amused by my response. So, look here people –double check your picks. If you can’t remember what about the books made you recommend it, then please for all that is good and holy in this world, take it off the list! I may even allow substitutions (but no additions.) There are a million books in this world. A dozen that I need to read for book club this year. There are 35 languishing on my to-be-read shelf (which is different than the ridiculously misnamed 40 by 40 shelf), and many others that will be published this year that I will covet. Life is too short to read a shitty book, especially since my reading time is about to get drastically curtailed. Make your books count!

This week, the fifth book on the list finally appeared in my mailbox with the proper sized fonts and margins. The author won a Pulitzer for another book (which I have previously read), so it was a good week for famous book awards.

#5 – The Burgess Boys – Elizabeth Strout
Recommended by: SU

I didn’t particularly like this book. It was a relatively straight forward tale of family discord, but for some reason it just didn’t resonate with me. I didn’t really understand the motivation of the characters, their dialogue was jarring, and the present day drama just sort of tapered off without a real resolution. The entire book was without resolution, really, and while I understand the author’s choices and that they reflect how little resolution there is in life, it frustrated me as a reader. Things happened, or they didn’t, people did things for questionable reasons or almost no reason at all –and it all just left me sort of cold. I can see where it would sing to others though. The writing is clean, the way the author pulls back and examines how every individuals sees the world differently are really interesting, and the differences between small town living and the big city, are just solid enough not to be trite. I don’t know if I would necessarily recommend this book, but I wouldn’t steer you away from it. 

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