10 December 2009
...not so many finishies.
In between Book Menaging it up last week (are we ready to use that as a verb yet? Sure, why not?) I started a lot of books that I never really ended up finishing. This happens periodically, and always leaves me feeling a bit cranky, especially when they're okay books. These aren't the type of books I hate or anything; they make me cranky because, if I had infinite time, I probably would have finished them. But I am learning that there are just too many books out there, fiction and nonfiction, to put in time with a book that I'm not particualarly loving. So here they are, last week's losers, in no particular order:
1. At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream: Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life, by Wade Rouse. This is another one of those "I want to live like Thoreau and get back to nature," "city slicker in Rural America" memoirs, and it's not completely unfunny, but I have always found Rouse's writing a little blocky. (Although the part where he and his partner Gary go shopping at Wal-mart, where Rouse admits the locals have probably never before seen a man wearing he-capris "featuring a giant flower on the ass" did get me to giggle at their sheer chutzpah, if nothing else.) I tried to read his earlier memoir, Confessions of a Prep School Mommy Handler, and found that had a similar three-page chapter, somewhat graceless expository style. Consider: "I wanted to live simply, like Thoreau. I wanted peace and serenity. But I think I got rabies instead." Meh.
2. I Drink for a Reason, by David Cross. This is a collection of humorous pieces that, once again, I'm not really smart enough to find all that funny. I don't even know where to start quoting on this one, so I'm picking at random: in the chapter titled "Involuntary Random Thoughts I've Had Not Always When I was Pooing But Certainly Sometimes When I Was Pooing," you find this bon mot: "Whoever owns clean air is going to be fucking crazy rich soon!" (p. 129.) I guess I'm not really woman enough to start picking on books I don't really even understand, but this one had an initial print run of 100,000? Wow. I'll be interested to hear if 100,000 readers find this funny, or if 99,999 fans of Cross's from his role on the TV show Arrested Development are going to be very disappointed, and one person is going to find this book hilarious.
3. Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers. I'll admit it, I just don't have the heart to read this one all the way through, primarily because I think I really only enjoy Dave Eggers when he's writing about Dave Eggers. Also, this is a heartbreaking work about a man who stayed in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, and actually helped many people in the city during its aftermath by paddling around in his own canoe, offering supplies and aid. What did he get for his trouble? Thrown into prison, that's what, as he was arrested by the few authorities doing anything in New Orleans on suspicion of looting, and mired in the post-Katrina prison mess. For some reason I was so completely disturbed by the arc of this story and the complete and utter breakdown in the post-Katrina situation that I literally didn't have the stomach to read it. It's actually probably a very good book for anyone to read to get a real feel for the FUBAR mess that was (still is?) post-Katrina New Orleans.