Thursday, February 23, 2006

Learn From My Mistakes

I'm hoping that the time I wasted reading these books will save you the time to read other things. I am not going to attempt to organize these into the one I hated most down to the one I hated least. Just think of this blog as a garbage can--everything randomly piled in.

1. The Last Girls by Lee Smith. UGH!
2. Winter Marriage by. . gee, I didn't even write down the author's name. Didn't finish the book, either.
3. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Very interesting concept and some of it wasn't so bad, but overall, a waste of time.
4. A Cure for Dreams by Kaye Gibbons. The title is tempting, but the book is unsatisfying.
5. Clay's Quilt by Silas House. Another interesting title.
6. My Father's Dragon by ??? A Jr. classic? YUCK!
7. Life of Pi by Yann Martel. I know, I know! It's a best seller, but I really did not like it. After writing this blog, Myke shared a few great quotes from Life of Pi. Read his comment to get all three. After discussing this book with several others, I decided it should not be on my hate list. Do go ahead and read it, you'll probably like it.

"To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation."

"Oncoming death is terrible enough, but worse still is oncomming death with time to spare...."

8. Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman. 9. All Is Vanity by Christina Schwartz. Boring, but I finished it--Darn it.
10. A Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg. I like Berg's writing, but this one was only so-so, which means, why bother?!
11. The Portrait by Ian Pears. I loved Pears' Instance at the Fingerpost so I kept reading this one hoping there was a little gem inside. I found this ONE buried deep:
"I know how hard it is to acquire good technique. I acquired mine by constant labor and study, year after year, day in and day out. It did not come naturally or easily, and it is the one thing I am truly proud of. To get what you want you have to have mastery, orthewise you are like a man trying to speak English with only a limited vocabulary. Unless you have the range, you end up saying what you can say, not what you mean."

12. The Red Hat Club by Haywood Smith. Someone in my book club actually chose this for one month's selection. I read the 1st 50 pages, grabbed a big chunk in the middle, flipped to the back and finished the last 50 pages. Ghastly and very predictable.


Myke Weber said...

I'll admit that the Life of Pi is a bit weird, but it had some really great quotes:

"To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation."

"Oncoming death is terrible enough, but worse still is oncomming death with time to spare...."

"I must say a word about fear. It is life's only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unerring ease. It begins in your mind, always. One moment you are feeling calm, self-possessed, happy. Then fear, disguised in the garb of mild-mannered doubt, slips into your mind like a spy. Doubt meets disbelief and disbelief tries to push it out. But disbelief is a poorly armed foot soldier. Doubt does away with it with little trouble. You become anxious. Reason comes to do battle for you. You are reassured. Reason is fully equipped with the latest weapons technology. But, to your amazement, despite superior tactics and a number of undeniable victories, reason is laid low. You feel yourself weakening, wavering. Your anxiety becomes dread

Fear next turns fully to yor body, which is already aware that something terribly wrong is going on. Already your lungs have flown away like a bird and your guts have slithered away like a snake. Now your tongue drops dead like an opossum, while your jaw begins to gallop on the spot. Your ears go deaf. Your muscles begin to shiver as if they had malaria and your knees shake as though they were dancing. Your heart strains too hard, while your sphincter relaxes too much. And so with the rest of your body. Every part of you, in the manner most suited to it, falls apart. Only your eyes work well. They always pay proper attention to fear.

Quickly you make rash decisions. You dismiss your last allies: hope and trust. There, you've defeated yourself. Fear, which is but an impression has triumphed over you.

The matter is difficult to put into words. For fear, real fear, such as shakes you to your foundation, such as you feel when you are brought face to face with your mortal end, nestles in your memory like a gangrene: it seeks to rot everything, even the words with which to speak of it. So you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don't, if your fear becomes wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.

Booklogged said...

Those really are fabulous quotes. Maybe I better give this book another chance and take it off my 'hate' list. Thanks for sharing those quotes.

Smoothieshake said...

hey! I am so happy Life of Pi is on your "i hate these books" list, i was incredibly bored throughout it. It started off very interesting, then it just dragged on and on and everything was mundane for the remainder of the book. I'll be back to read more of your reviews. bye!

Camille said...

I totally agree about The Year of Pleasures. Open House was the first book I read by her and I loved it and then I loved the books about Katie (Durable Goods, et al.), but The Year of Pleasure felt like she had a deadline to meet or she just wastn' in the mood for writing or something.

Camille said...

Oops, sorry about my typos.

1morechapter said...

I'm so sorry you didn't like My Father's Dragon. I read all 3 books to my boys when they were little, and we loved all three.