Thursday, February 23, 2006

Mixed Blessings

Well, it's always very sad when this happens, but it also makes my life a little easier. I just started to read Bookends, by Jane Green, which I selected because a friend likes the author. I have to say, I just can't get into it. There's a weakness to the storytelling--I keep losing track of how much time has passed--that I just can't get past. I'm sorry, Tracy. I do love trash, you know that. I guess this just isn't for me.

Let me give an example, though, because, well, because I critiquing fiction last night and I'm in the zone. So, the main character is at work and on the phone with her best friend, Simon. She says she has an appointment and needs to go, so they hang up. Then the book segues into her thinking about her friends and introducing them to me. So far so good--I don't need to go with her to her business meeting. But when it segues back into the "now," to what's going on around her, it's because the phone rings and it's her friend Simon who wants to tell her about something. So there's no indication at all of whether her appointment already happened or if he's calling her back five minutes later. They have a leisurely conversation. I read the passage twice trying to figure it out. If it was Joyce, or Toni Morrison, even, it would be compelling to be drawn back to reread and figure out what's going on. Not what I was looking for though. (Again, Tracy, I'm so sorry!)

But, I do get to cross it off my list, bringing that down to 54 again. And I think I might have discovered a useful new standard. When I realized I wasn't getting into it right away, I checked how many pages in the book (350) and decided to read 35 pages before giving up. Ten percent; that seems fair, right?

So: one down, 54 to go.

1 comment:

Charlie said...

I tend to give a book fifty pages, "just in case". As I age, however, I will probably make an adjustment--so many books, so little time.

If you have the stomach for frank language, please see my "review" of Nora Roberts