I have been having a very cranky week where books are concerned. First, there was this news:
James Patterson signs 17-book deal with Hachette: "He has agreed to a 17-book deal with his longtime publisher, the Hachette Book Group -- an unthinkable commitment for most writers, but for Patterson a mere three years worth of work."
I know there are bigger problems in the world, but that's just ucky.
And then it continued, just one of those weeks where every new book I read about annoyed me on principle. Have you ever had one of those days? Where you cast about for a book to read, and although there were many good choices available, and you knew it, you were just looking for something different, and all you kept coming across were new books like Katrina Kenison's* memoir The Gift of an Ordinary Day, the advertising copy for which reads:
"Kenison, here at middle age with two sons in their teens, pursues with graceful serenity a time of enormous upheaval and transformation in her family's life. As her sons grew out of babyhood and into the 'new, unknown territory' of adolescence, she no longer felt clear about what her life's purpose was supposed to be; their comfortable suburban Boston house of 13 years grew restraining, and Kenison longed for a simpler, more nature-connected lifestyle."
Again, something about that just makes me tired. Now, I am not the target audience for parenting memoirs, or books on women's midlife crises. But must they all sound like this? (I was annoyed with Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle for the same vague reasons--"look, middle-aged woman changing her life! She's becoming more genuine! She can be a famous novelist AND an earth mother!") It didn't help to learn that Kenison's first memoir is titled Mitten Strings for God.**
So. Here I am. Books all around but too cranky to read any of them. Does anyone have any good suggestions? Some good, nonsentimental nonfiction? Novels that didn't make you want to toss them after 50 pages? Even poetry that you like? I'm desperate for something to love over here.
*Kenison was the longtime series editor for The Best American Short Stories series, so it's become rather clearer why I haven't found a whole lot of stories in that series over the past decade that really spoke to me.
**That's really the title. I would never joke about mitten strings or God, much less mitten strings FOR God. Sounds like a great name for an ironic college band or something, though, doesn't it?