The Reading Group

Saturday, January 3, 2009

I woke up coughing early this morning. My cold from December seems to be returning. I'm taking vitamins to try to stop it from getting worse, and so far I'm holding steady but not making improvement. If it gets worse tomorrow's blog question won't be, "Can I read an entire book in a day?" but, "Can I read an entire book in a day while pumped full of cold medicine?" Apologies in advance if tomorrow's entry is slightly incoherent. I've got a fluffy, mindless book picked out for tomorrow just in case.

Now on to today's book:
  • I've never been in a book club, and yet I'm intrigued by them, so I've read several books about book clubs (that was an awkward sentence, but oh well, I'm blaming it on the cold). I've always meant to join one, but the closest I've ever gotten was a mock book club that briefly happened a few years ago. For those of you who aren't as weird as I am and don't do things like that, I'll explain. A mock book club is one in which you read the fluffiest, most mindless, merit less book you can find and then discuss it as if it was a serious, important piece of literature. Extreme amounts of sarcasm are required to participate in such an endeavor, and I think it may have ruined me for regular book clubs. I'm not sure I would even know how to talk with people about the book in a sincere way.
  • I'm having trouble writing this entry today, and not just because of the cold, but because I didn't connect to the book at all. I wanted to like the book, I tried to like the book, but I made it through the entire thing without ever really caring about the characters or what was going to happen next. I'm also suffering from information overload because the author gave too much of a back story on all the characters - and I do mean ALL. There is one scene in the book where one of the main characters goes to the doctor and, even though that doctor only appears in that one scene, the readers were still given her back story. I would have preferred it is Dr. Whatever-her-name-was (I can't remember) would have maintained a little mystery. My final criticism: I was considering reading several of the books the reading group read, until the characters gave away the endings. That's something I'm going to try really hard not to do here. I'm obviously going to write about each book as I read it, but I'm going to try to write about it in a way that won't wreck the surprise for someone who might want to read the book in the future.

Well now I feel kind of guilty for insulting someone's book on a public blog, so I'm going to try to think of some nice things to say to alleviate my guilt:

  • One of the book club selections was a favorite of mine, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. Reading about it reminded me of how much I love that book. In fact, I think I'm going to re-read it sometime this month. But that's not really much of a compliment to the author, so I'm going to have to dig deeper on the next answer.
  • I like that the author didn't reduce all the characters to a bunch of one-dimensional stereotypes. I'm so weary of books where the shallow characters are also dumb ( some of my favorite people are shallow and smart) and the rich people are all mean, etc.

Well, that's it, I'm all tapped out of nice things to say. I'm also beginning to feel the effects of my cold, and in an effort to stop this entry from descending downward into a blathering, rambling mess I think I'll just make this entry shorter than I had planned. So, please send healthy vibes my way dear readers, and with a little luck I'll be back in top blogging form by tomorrow.