March 2013

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laugh ��� ��� Some books just need to be on paper, with front and back covers, and those weird blank end papers and maybe dust jackets. Looks at Books By Laura Gallagher I did our semi-annual book purge the other day and managed to excise exactly one book. And I���m even having trouble getting rid of that one because a friend recommended the author. But man, it���s a mediocre read. The only reason it stayed on our bookshelves for so long was that I felt like I���d be letting Friend down in some way if I ditched it. I had mentioned really enjoying Author X, and my friend had said, ���Hey, have you ever read any Author Y? His stuff is really similar; I like it a lot.��� Because this friend was pretty freaking cool on a regular basis, off I trundled to the bookstore. Can I just say I tried? I really, really tried to like it? Let me put it this way: Author X���s novels have (if you think about them enough) ridiculously convoluted plotlines, and are full of oddly named characters behaving just this side of normal. But it works, because there���s a real, albeit thin, line of reality running through them, as well as lots of subtle and not-so-subtle humor. To me, it seems Author Y is trying for the same thing, but like Zooey Deschanel, Nissan and Coldplay, he���s trying way too hard. Every time a new, quirky character was introduced, it was like Author Y was poking me in the side and saying, ���Pretty crazy name, huh? Huh? Wait, wait ��� here comes another nutty character to interact with him���and this guy collects/does this completely wacky thing! Wild, right? RIGHT?��� It���s hard to really concentrate on a book when you���re yelling ���Shut Up!��� at random intervals. So out the door it goes. The book purge was a bust in another way because while rearranging everything���it���s now by subject matter or genre, then author, then, if possible, height/color (of the book, not the author)���I was reminded of other books that I wanted. I 64 BRAVA Magazine March 2013 made a list. It���s currently 37 titles long. Oops, hang on. 38. All told, kind of a reverse purge, I guess. A lot of those desired books are classics I had either read in school and would like copies of again, or books I never got around to reading. See, I was kind of advanced in the whole reading-and-writing thing (not so much with the ���rithmetic). In grade school, after I finished the assigned book in like two hours (and probably sneeringly called it ���derivative��� because I was a little creep), my teachers would just give me any old book to read. They knew my mom and knew she���d be OK with me reading, say, ���Animal Farm,��� years before most kids (she was, I wasn���t). And my ���advanced vocabulary��� made it possible to BS my way through an assignment if I had to. Case in point: I once got an ���A��� on a paper I wrote on Eugene Ionesco���s ���Rhinoceros��� after only reading the back cover. I mention all this to explain that when I got to high school and college, I tested out of a lot English classes and actually missed out on reading a lot of stuff that everyone else reminisces fondly about hating. ���Catcher in the Rye?��� Nope. ���Scarlet Letter?��� Nuh-uh. So I wanna check them out now. And I want them as actual books. Some books just need to be on paper, with front and back covers, and those weird blank end papers and maybe dust jackets. No matter how much I love my eReader, I save it for what I call ���bus books,��� and my secret shame, Ann Rule true crime novels. And with my e-Reader comes the realization that some books don���t even deserve electrons. I made the mistake of downloading a free book from Amazon by an author I had never heard of, in a genre I normally don���t read. I want my money back. It was poorly written with lots of WTF sentences like, ���Dave yawned in the back of the limo. He ran his smooth-but-masculine hands through his thick, wavy hair and thought about Audrey.��� The plot revolved around two average-looking people���s machinations in getting their respective gorgeous, brilliant, witty, warm best friends to meet and fall in love. And have sex. Lots and lots of sex. I feel dumber for having read it. I���m gonna recommend it to Friend. ��������� Laura J. Gallagher is a long-time communications professional. When not teasing her husband, Triple M���s Pat Gallagher, she is on Facebook at the Laura J. Gallagher page!

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