I finished Moby-Dick way ahead of schedule. I’m still writing weekly posts for the next little while, but in the meantime, I need something to read. So, what does one read after a long, difficult, literary classic? Here is what happens when a book snob looks for a “fun” read.
- No whales
1. The Worst Book Ever Written
I happened to be in the basement, escaping a record-breaking heat wave, when I noticed this in my book closet (yeah, closet. Gotta get some shelves.)
My mom and my Aunt are romance readers. They’re readers of everything else, too, but they’ve always had a soft spot for a good Harlequin. They also like to find and exchange the most ridiculously titled romance novels they can find. My Aunt sent this to my mom years ago, and I think the game ended there, because how on earth are you going to top Wicked Is My Flesh?
I decided that I had to read this immediately. The book begins, jarringly, with a history lesson about Mormonism. What the hell? I’m really not too interested in Mormonism unless Chloe Sevingy is involved, and I don’t think even she would touch this mess.
Then, about ten pages in, without build up or explanation, there is a sex scene between our hero and his father’s 25 year old wife. Because that usually happens, especially when you’re a Mormon in the 1800s. I made it another few pages before I had to stop because the font is too small and difficult to read. I would have read the whole thing, to confirm its “worst book ever” status, but, I am apparently choosing books based on the print size and am that much closer to turning into my mother. Moving on.
2. Book Bloggers Recommend
Next, I asked my Edmonton Book Blogger crew for recommendations. Some of them are into YA and chick lit, so I figured I could get a good lead on something fun. What I ended up with is a book that I’m pretty sure is neither YA not chick-lit at all. Kristilyn recommended Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
I’ve never read Gaiman, but I hear such great things. I love the title and the cover art. And I knew I’d made the right choice when the cashier at Chapters gasped and said “SO GOOD” when I approached the till.
So why haven’t I started it yet? Read on…
3. The Book Everyone and (Especially) Their Mothers Read Last Year
I was tweeting about the horribleness of Wicked Is My Flesh when regular Reading in Bed commenter @TheAndrewLoeb replied and said he was reading Fifty Shades of Grey, and I knew I had to read it too. Andrew is a PhD student and a great book snob (compliment, obviously) and I just feel like I need to experience someone like him reading this book. I know Andrew’s wife from an online mom group and she thinks we’re both nuts.
Follow me on Twitter or look for #50ShadesofBookSnob for live tweeting and ranting. A few observations:
- I’m 20% through the book and there’s been no sex. This is pretty disappointing after WimF‘s 10 page nod to storytelling.
- Fifty Shades is sorely lacking in a framing device. I never realized how important a frame is. The book is written in first person present tense and is very conversational in tone, which is driving me nuts, because WHO IS SHE TALKING TO?
- I am amused by the frequent references to Tess of the D’Ubervilles, which I love. Oh you you didn’t, James. Oh no you didn’t.
I’ll wrap up Fifty Shades in a couple of days, and then get through all 180 pages of The Ocean, and then move on to my proper summer reads. No Moby-Dick hangover here!
How do you unwind after a long, difficult read?