I used to have this irrational need to finish every single book I started reading. Back when Nancy Drew and I were besties, this wasn’t at all a problem. But as I grew older and my book choices began to follow Oprah’s Book Club and any and all bestseller lists, I began to look at the world of words with a healthy dose of cynicism.
I was a sophomore in college the first time I ever read a book to its halfway point then said, “screw it,” and put it back in the pile, never to be touched again. It was Julie and Julia. I know, I know…how can anyone hate that?!?! Meryl Streep was hilarious! And Amy Adams is so adorable! Oh wait…that was the movie. Which, I never saw either. You see, after half-ass reading the non-plot of this story, I came to the realization that to be interested in a story, there has to actually be a story. A cooking blog does not equal a story. That’s what recipe books are for.
So, to this day, I have no idea if Julie completed her task. And, frankly, I don’t care.
Unfortunately, just last month I made the mistake of NOT taking my own advice and instead continuing to read a story duller than my grandmother’s floral wallpaper. My recent foray into a book called Beautiful Lies by Lisa Unger was one I had been anticipating greatly. It got rave reviews and was noted as a bestseller, so obviously I was going to read it. I finished it, but I wish I hadn’t. There was so much point of view switching going on that I found myself wondering if the author had written three different stories, then pasted them together like a kindergarten art project just to be able to check it off her to-do list.
Which brings me to another point: there is nothing worse than a book that changes writing styles more times than there are pages (ahem…Beautiful Lies). Note to authors: unless it’s a necessary aspect of the book (i.e. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close), don’t switch it up. It confuses me. And it is far from enjoyable.
But enough of my bitching and moaning. Here’s the moral of this long-winded and unnecessary entry: books are sort of like mistakes in life…you’ve got to get through them to know what not to do in the future. Yep, I just gave you a life lesson. Pass the butter. I smell corn.