I’m in a mood. A reading mood, but it’s not the kind of mood that only means I want to read. This is the kind of mood that means I’m hyper-critical of what I’m reading. I picked up three books from the library yesterday, all books that had been recommended to me or that had appealed to me on some trip to a bookstore or something.
I put the first one down after 24 pages. All of the exposition was in dialogue between a brother and a sister, and it was SO. PAINFUL. They clearly both remembered a thing that happened, but they had to talk through every detail in a way real people would NEVER DO. It’s like this radio commercial I HATED in Virginia for Warman Home Care (you know, like warm and caring? UGH) where a wife says to her husband, “you know how you’re worried about your dad getting older and living by himself and how he won’t be able to take care of himself but how we can’t do it either?” and every time I heard it, I cringed because NO ONE HAS THAT CONVERSATION! People use shorthand! They refer to conversations they’ve had before without going into every detail. Good writing would remember that and use references like clues to pull the reader in. This book was like that commercial and it was so irritating. And then the author tried REALLY HARD to make sure you knew how old the characters are now and were then. On one page, he said straight out that one character was 33, the sister was two years younger than that character, and the brother was three years older. Got it. Okay. A few pages later, the narration explicitly says that a certain event happened 23 years previously. At that point, I did the math – brother was 13, sister was 8. I’m with you. Then, at the bottom of the SAME PAGE, the brother asks the sister, “so, how old were we when that happened?” and she says, “well, I was 8, so you must have been 13.” OH MY GOD I GET IT.
I quit after that.
I picked up my next book right after that and nearly put it down after seven sentences. The main character, making dinner at home with his family, was julienning an onion. The pretentiousness oozed off the page. Are you a chef? No. Is this book about food or cooking? No. THEN YOU’RE CHOPPING THAT GODDAMN ONION. On the next page, we learn he lives in a brownstone. A page later, we learn that he’s going to his local bar, steps away from his brownstone. Then he goes to Whole Foods with his canvas bag, which is just blocks away from his brownstone. Guess what, guys? Mr. Perfect lives in a brownstone. I’m kind of glad he got kidnapped.
For reasons, I don’t understand, I’m still reading this book. I’ll finish it tonight, and I can move on to a book where the Queen is a vampire. I’m expecting better from the paranormal.