Monday, March 9, 2015

Book Ends

I am many things, but indecisive is not one of them.  I know what I like and I know what I don't.  And I don't apologize for either one.  But right now, I don't know quite what to think.

A couple of months ago, I was with girlfriends and we were discussing a book.  And everyone but me disliked the book.  Not because it was poorly written, but because they didn't like the main character and her questionable choices. Which is something I'd never considered before.  Until that very moment.  Which is when I knew I didn't have to like the main character of a book to love a book.

What I do like to have in a book is a writing style that is easy to read with a voice that gives me insight into the character.  I prefer short chapters and a story that moves along without getting lost in extraneous unnecessary details.  Basically, get to the point already.  Cause I've got other things to do and a queue of other books to read.  Oh, and make me think about things from a different perspective.

So after reading some heavy apocalyptic books (The End of Oil & The End of Food), I was looking for something light and funny for a palate cleanser.  That's how I came across One More Thing:  Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak.  Touted as a book of humorous essays from the writer of The Office.  Perfect!

Except when I started to read it, I didn't find it to be very humorous.  It was unexpectedly deep, dark and very twisted.  And I couldn't stop reading it.  Because I had no idea what the next essay would be about.  And I needed to know.  But, what I didn't know was whether I loved it or hated it.  Even after I finished the book.

I went on Goodreads to mark it as read, which prompts you to rate it from 1 to 5 stars.  Which I rarely have difficulty doing.  Sometimes I'll want to give something 3.5 stars, which of course isn't an option, in which case, I'll round up.  I still had nothing though.  So I didn't rate it.  But, I did read the reviews others gave it, which were all over the map.  And I agreed with almost all of them both good and bad.

Ultimately, I think the best gauge of a truly good book (or movie) is that it stays with you long after you reach the end of the book.  That being said, I guess that means I loved the book.  I guess.

ADDENDUM:  A train of thought after reading this book led me to thinking about the old Twilight Zone TV series and how good it was.  You can find them on Netflix.  And they are every bit as good as you remember them to be.  My kids were hooked.  Even in black and white.  With slow moving stories building twisted suspense.  Kinda like that book. 


Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Interesting. I wonder whether you'll still be puzzling over it in a week or two.

Anonymous said...

yes the rating system needs halves, agreed. I have a quote under my book section of my website that says very similar to what you wrote if a book stays with you long after you put it down it was 'good'. In studying writing recently, I came across some talk on how to appreciate a book, or movie for it's ability to move you, touch you even if you hate it. I found this helpful as I can now appreciate a book or film for its art as opposed to I loved it. Does that even make sense?? Any way loved your post!!! Mackenzie Glanville


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