I’ve been struggling to write an entry the past couple of weeks. It’s been so hot and miserable that I’m hardly motivated to do anything more than slowly sip a cold beverage while staring into the middle distance–even reading seems like a lot of work–and nothing I’ve read lately has been inspiring. I want to tell you about books that I love, but recently every book I come across is one I am basically okay with, they’re all fine, whatever. But other people seem to like all of these books, so let’s do a quick round-up:
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles–This has gotten rave reviews and it seems like something I should love–bright young things in New York City in the 1930s! And I did love the descriptions of what it was like to work as a secretary and eat at the Automat. But the main male character (who I guess I was suppose to be pining over?) was a total blank to me and the best friend seemed like a terrible friend that the main character was better off without. Plus, I felt like we were eternally on the edge of a more interesting story that we never quite got to–the book kept making allusions to the fact that the main character was Russian but had Anglicized her name to get ahead in the world, but we never learned anything about her family or why she did that or what the costs were. I wanted more. If you know the perfect glittering 30s book, let me know.
The Pirate King by Laurie King–This is the latest in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes mystery series (short version: after Holmes retires to the country, he teams up with a young girl and they end up solving mysteries together). I ADORE the first three, but the later ones have seemed lightweight, like generic mysteries that could be solved by any generic characters. The first few books were so enjoyable because Holmes and Russell and their relationship was so clearly drawn, and I feel like that’s been lost a bit. Only for diehards.
Shape of Desire–Remember when I was talking about how much I love Sharon Shinn? I do still love her, but please don’t read this one. I think this is her attempt to get on the Twilight bandwagon, not with vampires, but by setting a supernatural romance-type story in this world. I am on board with supernatural romance, but this one felt like a twenty-page short story blown out into a whole book. Go reread the angel books instead.
Slow Love by Dominique Browning–A memoir about a woman who gets laid of from her job and finds herself seemed like it would be right up my alley. It’s subtitle is “How I Lost My Job, Put On My Pajamas & Found Happiness,” and doesn’t that sound fun? Eh. Way too much of the book was taken up by her whining about a relationship that ANYONE could have told her was pointless, and as far as I could tell, her happiness consisted of her using her enormous severance to retire to the vacation house she already owned. Less inspiring than I had hoped.
Here’s hoping that my upcoming beach vacation results in a whole stack of books I love and can heartily recommend.