I'm finally shutting down my Maycock Media Mix blog. I haven't used it in years and to be honest, I don't think I'll ever get back to it. This entry marks the first of occasional entries that would have previously gone in that blog.
One of the highlights of the summer is being able to do a little more leisure reading. Most years I have had pretty good luck and discovered a really great slate of books. This year though, my luck ran out. Normally, I just scan the display shelves at the library and pick up a few titles that sound interesting based on the blurb on the book jacket. I used the same mehtod this summer, and found the results lackluster.
I read This Vacant Paradise by Victoria Patterson which was ho-hum and Model Home by Eric Puchner which was well-written but rather dispiriting. Gone, Tomorrow by P.F. Kluge was better, though I found the ending unsatisfying. Perhaps I was expecting a major twist that never really came. I then started in on Sing Them Home by Stephanie Kallos and gave up after one chapter. It wasn't uninteresting, but one of the conceits of the book was that the dead hang out at the cemetery, do arcane experiments, observe the living and perhaps other things that I didn't discover before I gave up on the book. Theology wasn't the issue--I don't believe in spirits of the dead and such but I'm more than willing to suspend disbelief as I did for the excellent The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. For me the device of these quirky spirits of the dead felt overly cute. Even the living characters struck me as a tad too eccentric to be really relatable. Worse than that, the book failed to grab my interest early on. I didn't have the patience to stick with it.
I scanned a few of the pages of C.J. Sansom's Winter in Madrid and abandoned it as well.
I've decided that as busy I am--even in the summer--I can't afford a trial and error approach to my leisure reading. I need to be reasonably certain that the book I'm going to read is going to be very good before I start reading. A book that was 'alright' just isn't good enough anymore.
What I've found is that I'll come across a book review in TIME magazine that sounds good or
someone will recommend a title to me, but then when it comes time to find a book to read, I've forgotten those titles. So what I'm going to do is start a public list here on this blog of the books I'd like to read. Once I've read the book, I'll link back to this post and edit it to include a short review.
I'd like to invite my readers to suggest great books that they've read--fiction or non-fiction--that they think I'd enjoy. Just make your recommendations in the comments section and I'll consider adding it to my list. Also feel free to comment on the books I add to my list whether to warn me away from a title or to encourage my interest.
Books to Read
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy (I'm about 2/3 finished. I'm determined to finish)
Breaking the Skin by Lee Martin
The Autobiography of Tom Thumb: A Novel by Melanie Benjamin