7/6/11

Margaret Finnegan: Truly Grumpy Reader

I haven't been able to get past page 75 in the last three books I've started. I have tried. Honestly. I swear, I am really not that hard to please. I want compelling characters, a brisk narrative, an interesting story, and little to no blah-blah-blah, boring, boring, boring.

Really, do I ask too much?

Suggestions?

39 comments:

Tony Van Helsing said...

Sorry Margaret, I'm not a writer so cannot give advice here.

Tony Van Helsing said...

Hang on, try 'The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon' by Stephen King. It's the last book I read that I could not put down.

Desiree said...

Please, Goddess, I hope you weren't starting my book! I, too, get so frustrated that I throw them
(they are published?!?!) across the room.

Will you be warning us away?

Cafe Pasadena said...

MF, I refer to one of my original sayings: I feel your pain.

And how r u doing finishing a macaron, slice of cake or pie, cookie, or ice cream?? If the problem has spread to this area then I would truly be grumpy. And worried.

Margaret said...

Tony: Good idea, but is it scary? I can't do scary. I'm too wimpy. I get nightmares. It's ridiculous, but true.

Dez: How can you even think that? Your fabulous mystery novel Human Cargo (http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/64979) is definitely worth reading.

Pup: Alas, my pain has not affected my appetite. Have you tried Carmela's ice cream on Altadena Drive and Washington? Very yummy.

Joanne said...

How about this one, Margaret. I just read The Invisible Circus, by Jennifer Egan. Egan won the Pulitzer for Fiction this year. This book is her first book pubbed in 1995, but you wouldn't know it. At the very heart of it, it's the story of a young woman coming to terms with the loss of her sister 10 years prior. It takes place in the late 1960s, 70s, in San Francisco and Europe, and is one of the best books I've recently read. Let me know if you give it a try, I'm interested in what you think of it.

Daisy said...

For fun reading I like John Grisham and Dean Koontz who is kind of scarey but not as much as Stephen King I think. I like Nevada Barr's stories too. Presuming that in this heat you don't want serious stuff!

Petrea Burchard said...

The Glass Castle: Jeanette Walls.

I almost always read fiction and this is memoir, but wow. Can't put it down.

I *am* hard to please. My time is precious and I don't want to waste it on mediocrity.

Cafe Pasadena said...

YES, The Best!

altadenahiker said...

I think you've come to the right group for suggestions (though I happen to prefer Des to Stephen King.)

Shell Sherree said...

Blah-blah-blah is hard to take, Margaret. I don't think you have unfair expectations.

Margaret said...

Joanne: I am a big fan of Jennifer Egan. I especially loved LOOK AT ME. I have to admit though, that The Invisible Circus was one of the books I couldn't get through, which I'm sure is more a reflection on how grumpy I"m feeling than on the novel. I just couldn't do the whole San Francisco counter culture for some reason.

Daisy: Summer fluff might be nice. I'll check those out.

Petrea: I've read THE GLASS CASTLE. I thought it was great.

I really think I'm being much more picky than usual. Maybe it's the heat.

Tony Van Helsing said...

It's not one of his horror books Margaret, it's about a little girl who gets lost in the woods while hiking.

Petrea Burchard said...

You've already read "The Time Traveler's Wife," I'm sure. How about some Daphne DuMaurier? I love her stuff.

Margaret said...

Petrea: I actually have not read The Time Traveler's Wife. Do you think I'll like it? It's not too sappy? DuMaurier is an interesting thought.

Desiree said...

I actually want to know which books bored you silly before I make any recommendations--sometimes it's just mood. I have to be in a very peculiar mood to handle the deep and profound. I mostly like gauzy entertaining reads.-- Currently Briar Patch by Ross Thomas. Oh my, do the politics of the early 80s seem so far away. Thanks for the shout out AH!

Petrea Burchard said...

The Time Traveler's Wife is not at all sappy at all. The cover is a bit misleading.

Whenever I don't know what to read I pick up another DuMaurier. One of these days I will have finally read them all. My recent favorite is The House on the Strand.

I'm with Des, I wouldn't mind knowing what bored you.

Bec said...

You have to read the Time Traveler's Wife! It's a book that stuck with me . . . not everyone I've recommended it to loves it as much as I do but I think it's great. And, Traveling with Pomegranates will show up in your mailbox soon :)

Jess said...

I've been in a book slump, too. I've only been reading stuff written by my friends, and while it's all been good my heart just hasn't been in it. I also haven't been posting on my book blog. I hope a nice book comes along and sweeps you off your feet soon!

Petrea Burchard said...

OH EM GEE.

I think we're all going to want to read this. I read the review, then I watched the book trailer. Then I watched the 7-minute embedded video. If this guy writes like he shoots, this is going to be a fantastic book.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Reading Lolita in Tehran; from the perspective of several woman (all very different) in an underground book club

Geek Love; Katherin Dunn
Fun read, can't put it down

I currently have a book titled "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" by Dave Eggers. Has anybody read it?

Petrea Burchard said...

I've read "Lolita;" liked the subject and the story, wasn't crazy about the writing itself. Then again, it's a hell of an achievement to write a book in your first language, let alone your second or third. Well worth reading.

I've also read the Eggers and I thought it was terrific.

Susan Campisi said...

Petrea, I just followed your lead on "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children." I read the review, watched the book trailer (books have trailers now?! where have I been?), then watched the making of the trailer. Those images, that music got under my skin!

Petrea Burchard said...

That "making of" trailer is compelling, isn't it? It makes me want to go to those places and explore.

Cafe Pasadena said...

PB, like the author said you don't wanna be caught trespassing now. So if u ever go to xplore, I highly recommend you go late at night.

And if u do get caught just say something like, "Well, I knocked 1st! And I thot I heard someone faintly say, 'Come in...Pleazee'"

Margaret said...

Dez: I don't want to disclose the books I've chucked because I don't really trust my judgment right now. I think I really am in a grumpy mood.

Petrea: I will look for the Time Traveler's Wive and MIss Peregrine. Very intriguing.

PA: I enjoyed Reading Lolita in Tehran. I read it right after I read the graphic novel Persepolis, which I liked even more and is about a young girl growing up in Iran during the revolution. If you haven't read it, I recommend it. I have it if you want to borrow it.

Petrea Burchard said...

PA, if you don't borrow Persepolis, I will. I remember when it came out and it got raves.

Katie said...

You might have seen this suggestion over at Karin's book post, but I highly recommend the 1983 book Fup by Jim Dodge. (It looks like it's being re-released this fall, but you might find it at the library or you can get a reasonably cheap used copy online.) It's only 59 pages so if you flag at 75 you'll definitely get through it. It has amazingly compelling characters, an extremely brisk narrative, a quirky and interesting story, and nary a moment of blah-blah-blah, boring, boring, boring. My bet is that as soon as it gets re-released it's going to become a cult classic all over again.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Ha! I saw "Persepolis" in movie form. Told an Israele friend how much I liked it. He went into critical mode about what a bunch of fluff he found it to be. all-righty then. so lets instead name our five favorite women sculptors.......living!

Star said...

I loved the two books of Iain Pears, which I have read (AN INSTANCE OF THE FINGERPOST and THE DREAM OF SCIPIO). I also read a charming, moving and enriching book called THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL SOCIETY by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. (Besides my beloved Marcus Aurelius, MEDITATIONS.)

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Aww, I hate that feeling. I especially hate it when it's a book that others rave about (yes, this has happened to me more than once). Good luck finding a new one:)

Laurie said...

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Inspirational. Reads like a great novel but even better... it's TRUE!

Petrea Burchard said...

I have a copy of "Guernsey" if you want to borrow it.

Italo said...

I had the same problem last year. for some months I couldn't read an entire book. And those books were italian bestsellers. I don't know.

dive said...

Start at page 76. If it looks good, then you can go back and restart from page 1.

Sharon said...

Hm. Well when I hit that place, I go for old favourites and mix it up. To make you smile out loud try Neil Gaiman - Good Omens (and if you ever get the chance to watch a BBC production of Neverwhere do it. Very weird). In the light file as well is Lisa See's Snowflower and the Secret Fan - it's historical fiction (secret writing! awesome). I dust off my ancient copy of How Green was my Valley (Richard Llewellyn) to hear my grandmother's voice on every page. Just about anything by Timothy Findlay; Margaret Laurence's Stone Angel. Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill. The Glass Castle touched me deeply. Oh my goodness, I am inspired again (I've been struggling to find a good enjoyable read lately too)!

Sharon said...

Hm. Well when I hit that place, I go for old favourites and mix it up. To make you smile out loud try Neil Gaiman - Good Omens (and if you ever get the chance to watch a BBC production of Neverwhere do it. Very weird). In the light file as well is Lisa See's Snowflower and the Secret Fan - it's historical fiction (secret writing! awesome). I dust off my ancient copy of How Green was my Valley (Richard Llewellyn) to hear my grandmother's voice on every page. Just about anything by Timothy Findlay; Margaret Laurence's Stone Angel. Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill. The Glass Castle touched me deeply. Oh my goodness, I am inspired again (I've been struggling to find a good enjoyable read lately too)!

Deb @ Paper Turtle said...

Page 75 of "A Homemade Life" by Molly Wizenberg" has the recipe for "Fresh Ginger Cake with Carmelized Pears." It's just after the author's story about how she came to love this cake...

Oh wait. You'll find all that out when you read the book because you are the lucky winner on my "Pass the Book" giveaway. :o) Congrats!

Patrizzi Intergarlictica said...

Walker Percy: The Second Coming

Bet you haven't read it.