Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Sunday Salon: January Reading Blahs


I skipped last week's Salon because my day was consumed with looking at several houses, which was infinitely more interesting and exciting than anything I would have had to say about my reading week.

(The house stuff will have to be a separate post because I have much more to say, but the Reader's Digest version is that we wound up finding a house we liked AND putting an offer in on it AND having that offer accepted, all of which means we'll be moving exactly one month from now. This is just 5 minutes away from where we are now, which keeps us in the same town and the kids in their same school.)

Anyway, so back to the books. Is it just me or is anyone else also having themselves kind of a "blah" reading month this January?  Is it the weather, the post-holiday slump ... or what? I can't really put my finger on what's going on.

Had I written a Salon post last week, I would have told you that I had a busy travel week last week, with much time in the car affording me lots of time to listen to Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. This held my attention while on the road, but once again, this is one of those books where everyone in the world seems to rave about it and I'm the one shrugging my shoulders saying, "Eh ... it was just OK."  In fact, I kept thinking of David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars while listening to this.

Last week, I also read (and reviewed here) Smut by Alan Bennett, which came my way via NetGalley. This was my first time reading Alan Bennett, and I liked the two stories ("The Greening of Mrs. Donaldson" and "The Shielding of Mrs. Forbes") in this book. Both stories center on the aspects of our personalities and character that we keep hidden from others, our reasons for doing so, and how these qualities shape us.  There is a significant bit of language and eyebrow-raising scenes in these stories, but it is there to illustrate Bennett's point that sometimes the people who think they know us best are the ones who know us least of all (including ourselves).

Into this past week came my first possible DNF of the year.  I'm not too surprised, given the reading month I've been having, but I'm really surprised it was this particular book, Lottery by Patrica Wood. Again, this is a book that a lot of people have praised (and that won, I believe, the Orange Prize in 2008) and that I really should have loved.

I have no idea why that wasn't the case.

There's some rough language in here, (which again, doesn't offend me). There's also some frequent use of the r-word, which greatly DOES offend me, as a mom of a child with autism. In this case, I absolutely understand the point and the usage of it in this novel - but it was still jarring, listening to it on audio while driving.  I cringed everytime I heard it, and by Chapter 4, I couldn't take it anymore and turned this off.  I purchased a copy of this at a book sale awhile back, so perhaps I'll try it again in print form. (When I unpack it from a box that's in storage, that is.)

Finally, as dismal a reading month that January has been, I think I'm ending the month on a high note with The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright.  Now this one is intriguing.  I'm rather enjoying this story, told by somewhat unreliable narrator Gina Moynihan "girl about town" about her love affair with Sean Vallely. It's a story about the "memory of desire: a recollection of the bewildering speed of attraction, the irreparable slip into longing."

(And I just love that cover, don't you?)

OK.  My grocery shopping and box-packing awaits. Hope you're having a good Sunday!





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3 comments:

JoAnn said...

Congratulations on the house! You'll definitely be ending the month on a high note with The Forgotten Waltz- I just finished it this week.

Elisabeth said...

Congrats on the house! Sorry to hear about your disappointing month, Feb. will be better!
Sometimes your just not in the right place when your reading a book, if you know what I mean. I have also discovered that sometimes a book is better read than listened to and vice versa. Maybe you would have liked HOTCOBAS if you had read it instead of listened to it.

Booksnyc said...

Congrats on finding a house!

I saw Anne Enright speak last year and it was interesting to hear about her inspiration for Forgotten Waltz - I am looking forward to reading it.

Hope the reading gets better soon!