Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Books Coming in, and Books Going Out

When I first heard of Someone Comes to Town Someone Leaves Town by Cory Doctorow there were two 'tag lines' that were associated with the book: goofy (in the best of ways) and 'kinda like Tom Robbins.'  I didn't finish the book so this isn't a review but after putting it down around page sixty it was certainly as bizarre as anything Robbins has committed to paper.  (I used to read a lot of Robbins haven't done so in a while.)  Doctorow's book is crazy: a man with no definitive first name who's father is a mountain and mother a washing machine.  Stranger than this is that the plot isn't some hook merely to get you interested.  Language and presentation and all those indefinable things that make up 'style' were a bit lacking for me and not only in comparison to Robbins. 

The novel is goofy, but that didn't bother me.  It felt a bit dated being so contemporary in 2005, perhaps it hasn't aged well especially with the 'free internet for all of Toronto' tech aspect of the book.  Primarily I think what turned me off is that the story (up until the point where I put the book down) is told through dialogue and I've never really liked chatty books.  To me, good dialogue feels well crafted--like Doctorow's--which is generally speaking the opposite of real human dialogue.  And I'm a quiet person anyway... 

The City and ʎʇıɔ ǝɥʇ by China Mieville was anything but a mess, but I don't like crime novels added to which I felt cold and alone reading it if that makes any sense.

Funny thing is, I think I like both these authors solely based on a novel by each that I haven't completed.  Concerning Doctorow I'd like to read his newest work: hot off the press and Mieville seems to have style and craft aplenty; only I need to find a story that appeals more to my taste.  They are both still on 'The List,' but these particular books are out the door.
I really wanted to finish both of these books and toyed with the idea of doing so, but instead of giving myself a long, slow reading month I stuck to my M.O.: 'you've got fifty pages to make me read your book.'  A number I think rather generous.

Belated birthday gifts may be the greatest thing ever.  They are almost as grand as true unprompted gift-giving as the recipient isn't expecting the gift.  Since I've 'finished' half of my expected reading for the month in two days I'll add Maria's present The Prestige by Christopher Priest to the pile for September.  I'm predisposed to liking this book.

As for a book that I've picked up this month and stuck with The Glass Room by Simon Mawer is really good.  Can't see myself putting this one down.  My sister chides me for reading what she deems 'high and mighty stuffy books.'  To that I say, I'll reading anything from fantasy, science fiction to high and might and stuffy as long as it's strong enough to hold my interest through fifty pages. 

1 comment:

Marion said...

The City and The City is a deaprture for Mieville. I understand the "cold and alone" thing; part of that is the city (the first one) and part of it is the character. I love Mieville but it's hard to recommend a "starting" book. You might try his most recent one -- it's young adult about a world of trains, Railsea.Less cerebral, more fun. Looking for Jake is a collection of short works that might be worth a try.