Sunday, October 14, 2007
A Little Sunday Reading
Another weekly feature...about books. YEY BOOKS. I LOVE BOOKS.

First, are you trying to figure out something to read? The National Book Award 2007 nominees have been announced. I already have one of the nominees on my list--Then We Came To An End by Jonathan Ferris. Even though I don't work in an office, the description of Ferris' workplace escapades sounds enjoyable. So I'll pick it up and pretend I work a miserable 9-5 job and then be thankful that I don't.

I recently finished a book that was recommended to be based on how much I love Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I do love me some ELIC. The narrator, Oscar, still warms my heart two years after I first met him. So I picked up The Good Life by Jay McInerney with very high expectations. I finished it almost a week ago and still can't decide how I feel about it.

Let me break it down....

The bad--the book takes place in a post 9/11 world. While the book doesn't focus on 9/11, it is featured a little too prominently for me. I cannot stand all the cheesy pop culture representations of the event. And though it sounds a little crass, I'm a bit sick of the tragedy that is 9/11. This book is dangerously close to cliché (I mean, the two lead characters fall in love while volunteering?!).

More problematic, the two main characters are a little too cluttered. They both have many, many issues. But it is the magnitude of those issues that make them almost simplistic. It is easy to dislike them--and dislike most of the people in the book. Too much happens. Too many bad things. Too many needless distractions. The distractions take us away from the heart of the book--the raw human response to tragedy.

The good--As I came to the end of the book, I was convinced I would not recommend this book to anyone. Then I read the last three pages. They were absolutely phenomenal. Incredible. Such beautiful prose. The account of love, longing and regret so real that I was lonely for myself. I finished the book late at night. It was quiet and dark. I turned off my light and as I drifted off to sleep, I felt moved by the writing. Those three pages almost made me want to forget the first 350.

So I can't is worth suffering through 350 pages to enjoy 3 pages of beauty and honesty? I still can't decide. If you decide to read the book (or have read it already), let me know your opinion. Perhaps my discomfort with 9/11 is the driving force behind my negativity. At the very least, you should know that it is nowhere close to ELIC.

If you want to know what else I'm reading, become my goodread friend. DO IT!



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