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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Shipping News

by Annie Proulx

I have mixed feelings about this book. There were times it seemed as if the author was making a list. The descriptions seemed broad at first, but eventually I could almost picture the main character. There was a certain Newfoundland feel to the book. Please don't ask me what I mean by that, because I haven't quite vocalized it to myself yet. I'm glad I listened to this book, but I'm not sure that I would recommend it to anyone else. I doubt I will ever reread it, though I will probably watch the movie.

The best part of my experience with this book was listening to it while driving in Newfoundland. Sharing this experience with my husband helped because I'm not sure I would have persevered without his encouragement. Discussing the book in view of our experiences and the sights of the island helped, too.

We talked with a nice man at the Bookworm Bookstore in Gander who didn't think highly of the book. He said Proulx didn't do her research and that there were too many things that didn't ring true of Newfoundland life. For one thing, no one eats squid burgers.

*Just a side note* We bought a copy of The Day the World Came to Town from Brad at the Bookworm. He regaled us with some wonderful, personal stories of that time when the 747 had to land in Gander due to the tragedy with the twin towers on 9-11. After he and I had talked for quite awhile I turned around and noticed another customer. I apologized and said someone should have told me I was talking too much. They said you'd never hear a Newfoundlander say anything like that. That's what they do best is talk! I shook hands with both men and we left the bookstore.

30 comments:

Framed said...

I love the story of the bookstore. Did Myke have ancestors from Newfoundland?? And why don't they eat squid burgers? Sounds positively delish.

Alyson said...

Too bad the book wasn't so good. I agree with Framed about the bookstore story.

Petunia said...

What a great story! Sounds like a wonderful trip all around.

heidijane said...

This is a book I've always been curious about - but never enough to actually pick it up! Thanks for the great review, in particular the added story.

Carey said...

Thank you for the great review, I have been curious about the movie for a while and I think now I will watch it and avoid the book. Also, "The Day the World Came to Town" is a WONDERFUL book. I truelly enjoyed reading it eventhough I shed some tears. It happily reminded me that humanity, community, caring, love, and above all hope still have a strong foothold in this world, especially on such a horrible day as 9-11. Hope you are enjoying your trip!

Trish said...

Hmmm - not so encouraging! I am reading this one for the Book Awards challenge, but haven't started it (and probably won't have time for a while). I'm sorry you didn't really like it...

I watched the movie years ago--maybe you'll like that better (I can't really remember it, but I don't remember disliking it...)

Bookie said...

Ah! You just reminded me I need to read The day the World Came to Town. Thanks.

I didn't care for the shipping news either.

Candleman said...

On the ferry today from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia the lady in front of me was just finishing The Shipping News. I asked what she thought. She didn't rave (and I didn't share my ambivalent feelings), but she did say that it was fun to read it while visiting Newfoundland. My feelings, too. I'm sure I wouldn't have perserved at home.

Carrie K said...

Bad lack of reseach. I saw the movie first and then read the book, which was probably the way to do it, it sounds like.

Great vacation though!

Gentle Reader said...

I've heard people say that the book doesn't reflect Newfoundland...too bad!

Lisa Jean said...

Too bad you didn't like The Shipping News. It is in my top five favorite books of all time. I thought the language was beautiful. I liked the movie too, but not as much as the book.

Nyssaneala said...

I'm also not a huge fan of The Shipping News. It was probably great though to listen to her descriptions of Newfoundland as you were driving through them!

Booklogged said...

That candleman comment was really booklogged. Just in case that helps anything.

Bellezza said...

I have started this book a few years ago, but only made it halfway through. It would have been wonderful to listen to while you were in Newfoundland, though. Annie's writing is a bit tricky for me to immerse myself in; I really have to concentrate to see where she's going.

hellomelissa said...

you know, i read this book many years back and didn't care for it, either. why was it so popular?

Stephanie said...

You know, this book always seems to polarize people. Love it or hate it. One of these days I'll get to it!

Cereal Girl said...

I read the Shipping News some years ago. I remember it being a very slow start but I found it worthwhile in the end.

I'm not always a patient reader. I've never made it through the complete Lord of the Rings saga -- I know, I know, pretty scandalous!

Keep up the good reviewing!

Bookfool said...

Oh, wow, so now I want to move to Newfoundland. What a great story! I hadn't heard of The Day the World Came to Town. I'll look that up.

SQUIDburgers???? Ewwwwww!

Chris said...

I read it years ago. I didn't think it was awful, just ok. I did like the sense of community it had though. Being an East Coast person, I knew she used poetic license here and there.

Lotus Reads said...

I hadn't realized you were continuing to blog about books whilst on holiday, sorry for being absent from here for so long!!!

I haven't read "Shipping News" but I did read "Accordion Crimes" which was quite nice.

Hope you're having a fun time in New Foundland booklogged!

Kristen said...

Thanks for the useful review. I liked the movie enough to wonder if I should read the book, but it sounds like it wasn't as good.

CoversGirl said...

One year in high school everyone in my class was given a photocopy of the first few pages of this book why, I can't recall). It was readable enough, but didn't make me eager to read more.

And I've tagged you for the Blogging Tips Meme.

Heather said...

I love having additional context (like your Newfounland trip) when reading a review. Very nice!

Jill said...

I think I agree with so many of your other readers that the story of the bookstore owner and your conversation with him is wonderful.

BookTraveller said...

I remember trying to read this a few years ago; it is one of the relatively few books I have had to give up on because I just did not get on with it. I can't remember why now, but I have vague memories of it being quite depressing to read. I do like the sound of squid burgers though...

Bonnie Jacobs said...

This may sound strange, but I like Shipping News better in retrospect; I keep thinking about the ice and how the area once was for the people who settled there.

Latitudes of Melt is a much better book, which I read while you were in Newfoundland and really enjoyed. I hope you get a chance to read it. Here's where to find my review:
http://bonniesbooks.blogspot.com/2007
/08/icebergs-off-newfoundland.html

The Day the World Came to Town by Jim DeFede is well-written and easy to read, as the people on the stranded airplanes meet the people of Gander. Sorry, I haven't yet written a review of this book.

Lesley said...

I'd have to disagree with my fellow Newfie - I thought it was a marvelous book! I'm glad you picked up a copy of that 9/11 book - I spoke about it last year here if you're interested. I dunno about squid burgers, but we do enjoy our cod tongues! And I have an old recipe from my mum for seal flipper pie - not that I have any desire to test it out.

Booklogged said...

Lesley, we tried cod tognues while in Newfoundland and Rocky Harbor. That's also where we tried our first bakeapple berries - frozen and heaped on cheesecake. Soooooo delish.

Lesley said...

oh my gosh, what I wouldn't give for some homemade bakeapple pudding! mmmmmmm

Glad to hear you got to enjoy some of Newfoundland's 'delicacies'!

BookGal said...

Interesting discussion. I seem to be in the minority and really like this book. I was drawn in immediately and couldn't put it down. I had my doubts about Kevin Spacey in the title role for the movie but I ended up quite liking that as well. However, I have never been able to read anything else by the author.