Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Five Books at 5:00


My December fiction dabble, which is in a particular order (best to worst, to my way of thinkin'):
  1. Cheaper by the Dozen, Frank B. Gilbreth, Ernestine Gilbreth Carey -- of all I read in December, I will think the most and longest about this book.  It is the book you want to read passages from with your spouse, the book that makes you laugh, and the one you feel better for having spent time reading. 4/5.
  2. Children of Men, P. D. James -- entertaining, interesting, and pretty much what I thought it would be. 3/5.
  3. The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien -- I liked this more upon rereading it, but it was still as dithery and overhyped as I remembered.  3/5.
  4. The Princess Bride,  William Goldman -- I wanted to love this, but I found the secondary story (written as fact, but in reality only more fiction), distracting and irritating.  I loved the adventure tale, very much...but if the added layer of Morgenstern 'n' all was really so important, couldn't it have been created without the condescending references to the author's (fictional) wife and child...and adulterous fantasies?  I get it, there's a contrast between the two fictions of the book...but talk about buzzkill in amongst buzz. 3/5.
  5. Lord of the Flies, William Golding -- Blah.  Blah blah blah!  So much applause for clumsy and cumbersome writing and slow progress!  Read as allegory or a story in its own right, either way, it was mostly awful.  An aptitude for telling a story that makes a disturbing commentary on our society is not in and of itself a talent.  Tell it at least half-well!  I remember three quarters of the way through there was finally a poetic and poignant moment, and I was thinking, "What have we been doing all this time?!" and to explain the 2/5 I'm awarding it, I'll close with two excerpts from Golding -- in the first he is describing the island upon which the boys are all stranded;
It was roughly boat-shaped: humped near this end with behind them the jumbled descent to the shore. On either side rocks, cliffs, treetops and a steep slope: foward there, the length of the boat, a tamer descent, tree-clad, with hints of pink: and then the jungly flat of the island...

And that sentence isn't over.  Do you want to keep reading it?  What is even going on with the punctuation?  What?  What!?


Another:

Piggy was everywhere, was on this neck, was become terrible in darkness and death.

Blah.  I read almost always at night, and reading Golding at night for me means re-reading sentences or entire paragraphs and going, "Wha'?  Blah, why would you leave it like that?!"

So, would you rank these titles in reverse?!  Ha!

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