The list for March is fairly short because I’ve been writing. Wanna see?
This is part two of my soon-to-be released book “The Last Girl”. I’ve been diligently trying to get it organized (it’s told in non-linear sequence) and edited so it will hopefully be available for public consumption in time for summer. I’m venturing into dystopian territory and I’m really nervous about how it will be received. Kind thoughts and good vibes are welcomed at this point.
But don’t worry, I still read a handful of books, so let’s get to it…
“Naked Picture of Famous People” by Jon Stewart
If you haven’t read Stewart’s collection of essays, you should. Just because it’s funny. Like pain in the side, make it stop I’m gonna pee myself funny. I decided I would read one essay a night before bed. The first night I read about a Jewish kid’s weekend at Hyannisport with a young JFK and couldn’t stop giggling. Even long after the better half had shut off the lights. I decided I should probably save it for another time of day since Joe probably wasn’t too thrilled with my bursts of laughter throughout the night. (One of the dangers of sleeping next to an insomniac – when they are lying awake and remember something hilarious, their giggling may wake you.) I’m sure Joe was happy that I hadn’t read the piece documenting Vincent Van Gogh’s foray into AOL chatrooms. I had tears flowing during that one. And yes, it has been out a very long time, so some of it may feel dated, but it’s still good for a laugh.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
The tale is much different from his classic “Remains of the Day”, but it’s just as beautifully written. It’s one of those stories that doesn’t fit well into a genre at all. It’s coming of age, Brit-lit with a sci-fi leaning. Yes, it sounds strange, but it’s really quite lovely and dark. (Yes, to me a well-written dark book is far more entertaining than happy books. I’m just weird like that.) If you’re going into it expecting groundbreaking sci-fi, you may be disappointed as it’s more “fi” than “sci”. So, willingly suspend your disbelief for this one.
I’ve not seen the movie, so I don’t know how it stacks up – in case you were wondering.
Joe Jones by Anne Lamott
Lamott (an author I absolutely adore) calls this book her “sloppiest”. I can understand. The structure, dialogue and character’s actions were just… odd. Still, I managed to get involved in it and while it’s certainly not my favorite book I’ve read, I enjoyed her descriptions of setting and character. For my writer friends, her book “Bird by Bird” is a must-read.
Last (and definitely least)…
Persona by Amy Lunderman
I’ve made it a point not to write negative reviews. I know what goes into writing a book, even a not-very-good one, so I don’t like to take away from what the author has done. But I couldn’t even finish this one (which says a lot, considering some of the clunkers I’ve read in my life). The book has a fine-enough premise which is one of the reasons I downloaded it. It was listed as dystopian, which really piqued my interest. The fact that the author forgot to capitalize her last name on the listing should’ve been a red flag. The grammar throughout the prologue and first chapter made me want to weep. There were sentences I had to read and re-read several times in order to figure out what the author was trying to say. In reading the reviews, several reviewers commented on the poor grammar and how it made the book unreadable. Several apologists (I assume the author’s friends/family) came along and said basically, if someone loves to write then the grammar shouldn’t matter. I say, “A big, hearty F-YOU to all of them.” If someone loves writing, their first priority should be learning the language they are writing in. A painter doesn’t go to paint a masterpiece without understanding how oils differ from acrylics or what brushes work best for what techniques. They learn their craft and spend time honing it. The language an author writes in is his/her medium and he/she should learn the ins and outs of it.
Or at least have the common decency to hire a fracking editor.
I love books, I love language, I love being surrounded by words. I have spent my entire life on a journey to fill my head with as much information about language as possible. Linguistics classes, literature studies, research, and reading. It’s a never-ending quest for me. When someone calls his/herself a writer, but has no respect for the language of their craft, it is an offense to those of us that do. This book and others like it are the reason why so many self-published authors are not taken seriously.
So, here’s to April and a month of good books!