So many books. So little time.


A good book should leave you… slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it. ~William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958

I hate when I finish a book that was truly a waste of my time.  I have a reading goal (125 books this year -yeah, I’m weird like that) and those are the books that put me behind.  I read all sort of books about different things.  I can almost always  find something good about a book – even a trashy romance, as they are just for fun.  No big expectations except to have a nice time reading it.  They usually deliver.  Some books are meant to just be fun.  Some thoughtful.  And when you can find both fun and thoughtful in the same book, you’ve hit a home run.  Each year I try to read a couple of classics to round out what I think I was missing from my education.  Great Expectations – meh, not what I was expecting (pun intended), but I’m glad I read it.  Wuthering Heights – oh my gosh.  The darkest and most depressing novel ever.  But there was something I liked about it.  Maybe it was gloomy moors?  Or the tormented characters?  I’m not sure.  Jane Eyre– I LOVED it and have no idea why I didn’t read it when I was younger. To Kill a Mockingbird was a book I had read and not liked.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  I read it again as an adult and loved it.  I’ve read most of Jane Austen’s books and while I generally like the stories, her writing isn’t really my cup of tea.  Lady Chatterley’s Lover – because I just had to see what all the hype was about. (Yes, there’s sex, but to me it was much more about the social/labor climate in England at the time.)  I’ve been reading Les Miserables for quite some time.  I’m not done, so I can’t really say quite how I feel about it other than Hugo was a very wordy bugger and he spent WAY too much time on the Battle of Waterloo.

So back to the book that set me back on my goal.  The Story of Land and Sea: A Novel.  A debut novel as I understand it, so I’m going to try and be kind.  I had high hopes for this one.  I love the setting: low-country North Carolina at the end of the Revolutionary War.  I think that the author’s writing was lovely in places. It was depressing (which if Wuthering Heights is any indication, isn’t a complete turn-off for me).  And boring.  Very boring, indeed.  Boring to a spectacular degree.  Nothing much happened.  And then it just ended.  I thought I had a few more pages to go when it just ended.  Ugh.  I hate abrupt endings.  But in this case, it was a merciful release. Truly.  I was glad thrilled to be done with it.   On Goodreads, it actually has pretty good reviews.  And the Charlotte Observer gave it a nice write up – but maybe that’s Carolina bias coming into play.  I didn’t find the characters at all compelling with the exception of the children in the novel.  Ms. Smith could work on character development.  Perhaps I expected too much from it following the last book I read which I really enjoyed – it was a “home run”.  Let me tell you, Jojo Moyes can tell a story.  I would recommend any of her books but especially The Last Letter From My Lover and Me Before You were wonderful.  Anyway, I really have to get better at dumping books that I’m not enjoying.  For some reason I think I need to see it through.  Maybe it was the way I was raised, my personality, or that my mother was a librarian but quitting a book is just hard for me.  I just keep telling myself it will get better, that something will happen, and when it doesn’t I’m incredibly disappointed.  So now I am off to find my next book.  And I hope this one shows itself to be a pearl.

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