Friday, August 29, 2014

Cephalopod Coffeehouse: August 29

Oh my people! August 2014 has been a terrible month for books. I hardly feel I can join the "Best Book of the Month" discussion. It's as though I've been hanging out at the salad bar at Wendy's ("I highly recommend the dry rubbery cottage cheese with the wilted iceberg lettuce and a shot of that excellent cleaning-grade white vinegar") when I could have been nomming up all the good things at Momofuku.

OK. That being said, things were not entirely awful. I'm nearly done with Tigerman, which I picked up because an NPR reviewer practically had babies with it. "How do you know when a book has hooked you? When it really gets you in the guts and won't let go?" he gabbled. "When you can't stop telling people about it. When you catch yourself inserting the title of the book into conversations where it has no place, breathlessly insisting to all your friends and relations that they need to read this book right now, and waving it around on elevators and hoping that someone asks you about it." Crikey. It's like he's found religion, or a really great sex toy.

But nothing can compete with that kind of build up, it turns out. Or probably something could, but not Tigerman. I'm 95% of the way through so it's possible the last few pages will just knock my tiny socks off, but given what I've digested so far, it's only OK. I put it down without regret and must remind myself to pick it up the next day. While I appreciate many passages, Harkaway spends way too much time in his narrator's mine, ruminating. Like a cow chewing her cud. This is what's happening. This is how I feel. This is what might occur next. This is what it all means. Dude, seriously, put the brain down and pick the gun up. I would never offer that advice to a real person, but you are the narrator of a thriller: stop philosophizing and do things.


Love the Chip Kidd designed cover, though!
The other three books I read were not exactly shake-a-granny good, either: Will Grayson, Will GraysonThe House of the Scorpion, and Hugh Howey's Dust. None were terrible, really. I even gave two of them 4 whole stars on Goodreads. But it says something that when I tried to dredge up the memory of what I'd read in August, I had to turn to Goodreads to flippin' remember. It took less than 31 days to entirely forget each book I'd read. I feel like part of the problem is that the older I get and the more books I've read, the pickier I become. Everything I read this month belonged to a genre: Contemporary Thriller, YA, YA, and Dystopian Thriller, respectively. And it's OK for a decade or two, I suppose, but you begin to cotton on to patterns after a while, don't you? It all becomes entirely predictable. This is not to say new genre novel won't come along and just rattle my bones, but it's been a while.

Dear genre fiction ... I love you, but we need to see other people.


To see the other Coffeehouse reviews, which hopefully will be more enthusiastic, go to our kindly host's page. Happy reading!

15 comments:

  1. I've never heard of those books, but I'm proud of you for going where no, or few, bloggers have gone before.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Which bit, the negative reviews or the naughty references? :)

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  2. Sucks when you aren't ready stuff you really enjoy. I've been there.

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  3. I think I heard the same NPR review as you, lol. This one is on my to read list, but after your review, I'm wondering if I would enjoy it.

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    1. Maybe in a different frame of mind I'd have enjoyed it more. Worth picking up from the library and giving a go. The ending DID make up for some of the rest.

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  4. Was that NPR reviewer related to the author...?

    I know what you mean about genre fiction, though. Reading the same kind of book all the time makes it all too formulaic and ho-hum. I like to mix things up a little. (A lot.) There's too many good books out there to limit one's readings to a single type of book. Don't worry. I'm sure you'll read something NEXT month that'll knock your little socks off.

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    1. I hope you're right! It did occur to met that I haven't read any mysteries for a while, so maybe I ought to return to those. I like Tana French...

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  5. I have a confession to make...

    I love posts like this! There are truly terrible books out there and reading a good panning is great fun. Rubbery cottage cheese and sex toys? Ha!

    Off to read Part II...

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    1. I am hoping to be given few opportunities to pan for a while. :)

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  6. It is refreshing to read other people's opinions of books. I've read a book recently that had fantastic reviews but I thought it was awful. I try to read different things but some things just aren't my style.

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    1. And sometimes it depends so much on your mood at that moment. I'm sure some books I've hated were just read at the wrong time of my life. Maybe I should give them another try later ...

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  7. Well, and this was kind of how I felt about what I read in August. For some reason, July was an outstanding month for books. August...I don't know...dry spell. Here's to a September full of gripping reads! :)

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  8. Very entertaining review! I kinda want to read it now, so that I can get inside that other reviewer's head, you know? I have a feeling I might like this book as much as you did, though. The cover art is pretty cool...hmmm.

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