Friday, August 7, 2009

The Adventures and Misadventures of the Boston Public Library

After knocking ten books off the bucket list, I decided it was time to reward myself. So I nestled down with some non-classics. Sunday was a treat. I read “Sundays at Tiffany’s” by James Patterson and I couldn’t put it down. In three hours flat I devoured the book. I called home to tell Mom she had to get this book, only to discover that she too had just finished reading the book too!

Monday I was still running on a reader’s high—you know, that feeling you experience when you’ve just finished a great book that’s almost as satisfying as Thanksgiving dinner. So bright and early Monday morning I headed over to Boston Public Library to get myself some more “special treats.” Hey, I just read Jane Eyre in three days; I think I deserve to read another book that’s not on the list.

Prowling the shelves I hunted for my favorite authors. First up, Nicholas Sparks. To date I had read all but two of his books. (I refuse to read A Walk to Remember because I watched the movie before I even knew who Nicholas Sparks was. I love the movie so much that reading the book runs the risk of ruining the movie for me. What if I read the book and think, they’re right, the book IS better than the movie???) Anywho … I remember my best friend Chelle telling me about Spark’s newest book, “The Lucky One.” It had been out for a while now, but I still hadn’t read it. I found it peaceful resting on the shelf and immediately grabbed it to check out.

“So what else should I check out?” I wondered. I have a little over a week left in the city. Without a doubt I knew I could finish “The Lucky One” in a day tops. I transitioned to the “P” aisle and searched for Patterson. I have read some Patterson (Sundays at Tiffany’s, Susanne’s Diary for Nicholas, Jen’s letters to Sam) but I had never ventured toward reading his murder books. There’s no time like the present. I grabbed “The Quickie” because I thought the title would offer a good change of pace from Spark’s sappy romantic novel.

“Hum, two books and nine days to read, I’d better grab more. Well, if I’m trying new things, why not try a new author?” I mentally pictured my aunt’s bookcase. “Koontz” flashed through the vision. All right, I’ll try a Dean Koontz book I thought as I grabbed “One Door Away from Heaven.”

Excited about this expedition of branching out, I decided to try Stephen King too. This posed more of a problem though. Kings novels are HUGE … and heavy. Huge + Heavy + Subway Commute= Unpleasant Reading Circumstances. I grabbed the thinnest King novel I could find: The Girl who Loved Tom Gordon. At the time I thought this choice would be appropriate because the main character is obsessed with Boston Red Sox’s player Tom Gordon. What better place to read a King book with Boston references than, hum, well BOSTON?!?!

Well, I could not have been more wrong. First of all, let me just say that for a KING novel, it wasn’t creepy, scary … and in fact I thought it was totally predictable. The book was published in 1999. For only being ten years old, the book is ALREADY dated. For those of you who haven’t had the misfortune of reading this book, it’s about a young girl (age 10) who gets lost in the woods while hiking with her newly divorced mom and her argumentative brother.

The whole time I’m reading this I’m thinking, “Why doesn’t she just pull out her phone and see if she has service.”

Wow Sarah. What has this world to if I think a 10-year-old should have a cell phone. I had to constantly remind myself the setting was June 1998. Back then, cells were the sizes of bricks and only kids like Zack Morris had them.

But that’s not the only thing that dated the book. The kid had a CASSETTE player in her backpack. Not a CD player, not an iPod … a cassette player. She could switch the player to RADIO and listen to the Sox’s games for comfort while she was lost in the eerie woods. Wow, if I got lost in the woods today, I wouldn’t be able to listen to the radio at all. I’d just have to pray that I remembered to charge my iPod.

Anyway, the book felt so dated that it ruined my ability to suspend my disbelief and just get lost in the book.

After finishing the novel with much dissatisfaction, I tried the Koontz book. About 400 pages into the text and I’m still waiting for the three plot lines to weave together. What is the deal? Was Sunday’s at Tiffany’s that good that I’m having trouble finding a book that tops it? Hum, maybe, maybe not. Just because Koontz is a best selling author it doesn’t mean that his genre and writing style have to be my cup of tea. I was starting to think that maybe Koontz just wasn’t for me after all.

For the time being, I’m putting him down. I’ll turn my attention to Sparks to cure this book reading rut I’ve driven myself into. He’s the one man who hasn’t let me down yet. And maybe when work is a little less chaotic, I’ll give Koontz another try.

Oh, and if you’re still wondering what ten books I checked off the bucket list they are:
1984 by George Orwell
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway
The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Ender’s Game by Scott Orson Card
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

1 comment:

  1. I love Frankenstein. I read it during my British Lit class at NW State...and during another lit class at BG.

    And I've been meaning to read Jane Eyre for a while.

    -Michelle (Olmstead!)