Thursday, March 4, 2010

A book I didn't like, but couldn't quite forget

So here I am again, between really disliking a book and finding it impossible to forget about it. Well, finding the title of this one took some librarian-quality research skills (I used Novelist), but eventually I got it: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. A book I could not finish because I was so darn bored, and yet bored to wonder. When I started reading it, a friend of mine said, “oh yeah, I read that, it’s pretty good.” About 150 pages in, I asked my friend, “seriously, this book isn’t going anywhere, does it go somewhere?” To which she replied, “yes, it does, it’s good. The ending kind of fizzled, and I was a bit bored throughout too, but it was good.” To which I replied, “Oh.” I stopped reading after that. But doesn’t that just go to show how sometimes we get so caught up in a book, it doesn’t matter that it’s boring us, we just finish it? Anyone? I mean, The Historian had so much potential. A girl discovers a mysterious book and letters hinting that maybe there was an actual vampire in history, and that he may still be alive after hundreds of years. So she travels the globe trying to discover the truth. This has some hints of Dan Brown, no? Maybe a few horror elements and just enough fiction-could-be-truth to get you hooked. Or at least it worked on me. And it worked on pretty much every notable review (Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus). But I still didn’t finish it, and yet it’s been several years since I tried and I still remember it.
Here are some books that I haven’t read yet, but sound like they have a lot of potential. They are also currently on the Mentor’s Reader display at the Main Library. I got the descriptions from Novelist.
Show of Hands by Anthony McCarten
A struggling car salesman tries to save his business by hosting a contest, a publicity gimmick that introduces him to a colorful array of hopefuls including an elderly night watchman, a single mother, and a down-on-his-luck MENSA member.

Drood by Dan Simmons
A tale inspired by the mysterious final years of Charles Dickens finds the fifty-three-year-old literary master irrevocably changed when a train journey with his mistress ends in violence.

White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi
Suffering from pica, a malady that causes her to eat nonedible items, sixteen-year-old Miranda helps to run the family bed-and-breakfast while witnessing her community's hostilities toward outsiders, a malice that erupts in violent and destructive ways.

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