Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I read too much

Since I read too much, and it doesn't look like I'll ever come up with an idea to write something myself...I've been told that I should comment on books I've read, and books that I recommend. That it will give me a purpose, this blog a purpose, and perhaps be a little less boring. (Though, I definitely can't say that for sure.) I still have time to read since my home looks like a college apartment (complete with the slipcover sofas and clothes strewn all over the bedrooms--I know which are clean and which are dirty) and my kids really like take-out (Indian, sushi, and Thai are their favorites).

So, recently, I've been reading the early oeuvre of Katie Fforde and Madeleine Wickham (aka Sophie Kinsella). First, Fforde: I don't know if it's the fact that I'm reading the novels in the original British, but I have to ask: why is it that the female narrators always think that their romantic interests are angry enough to rape them? And then, why after that, do the characters always in fact have some kind of sexual interaction? This really kept me from just enjoying her works as the good fun that they are. It was also difficult to read about women who always need rescuing from men. (The same men who look angry enough to rape.) Comparisons to Jane Austen's world aren't really justified. An angry Mr. Darcy or Mr. Knightley certainly didn't inspire even a quake in an Austen heroine. Realistically, it was pretty clear that even Fforde's narrators didn't believe that they were about to be raped; but, it demonstrated how lightly both the characters and the author was taking the word. Believable or not, it was a distracting enough word to have in a light-hearted novel in which the poor-but-deserving "girl" was finally going to get her (usually older) man. As much as I may have enjoyed the books otherwise (for what they are--let's face, as undiscriminating as I can be, I do recognize what's "good" and what's really good), I was put off by this, and wonder if I can attribute it to the books being written over 10 years ago...but sounding as they they were written more like 25 years ago.

Madeleine Wickham. Ah, I should start by saying that I think the Shopaholic novels were really, really stupid. Yet, I went out and bought every single one, a few even in hardback. I admit it. I sold some on Amazon, and others I passed to my stepfather. So, even in my irritation, I wanted to read this fluff to see what would happen. Wickham's first book, The Tennis Party is beyond stupid. Please don't read this book. The characters are impossible to keep straight. The plot is straight out of an '80s trash novel (not by a famous author like a Danielle Steele, for instance). I couldn't imagine how, someone born in 1969, could have written something (in her 20s!) that reads like something a middle-aged woman would have written.  The Swimming Pool is almost equally inane, with a litigious plot out of the 1980s as well.  

Ok, this is a pretty old post, and my son needs to take a nap, so here it goes!

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