Remember Things I Love Thursday? You should do — it was a regular feature on ONS for a whole year! TiLT is a big blogosphere phenomenon and I loved trying my hand at it, but a while ago I decided to quit and move onto something more relevant to this blog. I’ve been scratching my head over it for ages and then finally came up with this: Things I’m Reading Thursday. I now plan to let you all know what I’m reading each week (even if that happens to be nothing — yes, I promise I’ll be honest), and I hope you lot will jump on the bandwagon too. I’m always on the lookout for book recs, so let me know what you’ve read recently too. OK? Here goes, then…
Alex Cross’ Trial, by James Patterson
Well, a weird book to start on… because it’s one I’d never, ever, ever pick up off a bookshelf in a million years, under normal circumstances. But right now I’m doing some work that requires me to read such… stuff, if you can believe it, so I had no choice.
I’m pretty sure this is the worst book I’ve ever read. And I’ve read some bad, bad books. To add insult to injury, Patterson holds the record for the highest number of US Bestseller novels by the same author (51 so far), and is rumoured to be worth more than any other living fiction writer. I was aware of his fame and fortune before I started the book, so expected that he’d at least be able to string a decent plot together (a la John Grisham, for example). Apparently, that was a rather silly assumption.
I won’t do a character assassination on the book because hey, clearly millions of people love his work (this just in: yes, a million people can be — and are — wrong), and I’d literally be here ALL DAY. Apparently Stephen King once said that all Patterson writes are “dopey thrillers.” Having read the first half (yeah, I gave up. Well, I say ‘gave up’… I mean ‘threw it across the room’) of Alex Cross’ Trial, I’d be inclined to agree.
Strangers by Anita Brookner
I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I have never heard of Anita Brookner, yet in her thirty-year writing career she has written 25 novels, and she won the Booker Prize in 1984. Strangers is a rather weird novel — definitely not what I expected from the cover blurb. It tells the story of Paul, an elderly man living alone in a London flat. He is obsessively nostalgic, and on the one hand desperate to have someone ‘around’ as he grows older, but at the same time fiercely protective of his own miserable solitude. Brookner writes in a style that’s only a whisker away from old-fashioned… and at times her prose seems repetitive, but I think that’s part of Paul’s “voice.” Other readers say they found the story depressing and Paul’s interior monologue banal, but I’m inclined to think: hey, elderly people really live like this. Sorry if that depresses or bores you, but it’s true! Personally, I am enjoying the novel (I’m on the last couple of chapters). I find Paul’s character interesting — he seems frustratingly selfish but also justified in his partly-self-made vulnerability — and I’m curious to see if his endless musings (there’s barely any dialogue, only Paul’s own thoughts) actually lead to anything. It’s not a book that’s easy to read, but I’m terrible for giving up on prose as soon as I get to a patch that bores me (typical poet, right?), and I haven’t put this down yet. I probably won’t read it again, but it is definitely A Good Read.
So, what are you reading right now? I’m nosy — tell me in the comments box! Or better still, jump on the Things I’m Reading Thursday bandwagon and write your own post.