I’m not really sulking because you disagreed with me about Midwinterblood (more on which in a moment), I’ve just been both really busy and somewhat underwhelmed by what I’ve been reading.
So, about Midwinterblood: okay, I see your point about the lack of cohesiveness in the stories, but it didn’t bother me until you pointed it out. I was happy to spot the small connections and to revel in the wonderful writing. I would have to re-read it to come up with a stronger argument, and I’ll probably do that later in the year, if others are still talking about it. It does have five starred reviews–although, as we’ve discussed before, stars aren’t everything.
So, on to a few other books that have been getting starred reviews but that haven’t completely done it for me. Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell has been getting raves from many quarters, and I can see why, but I didn’t finish it with any urge to discuss it or share it. I’ve been trying to think why, and I don’t really have an answer. The 80’s setting never quite felt right to me. The back-and-forth between the “Park” sections and the “Eleanor” sections was sometimes awkward, and I didn’t think the voices were clearly different enough. It was kind of an odd structure, to have the two different points of view, but to have them both told in third-person narration. There were many things I liked about the book, but at the moment it doesn’t feel like a book that is going to stick with me.
I also read Teeth, by Hannah Moskowitz. This is an odd little book that the publisher refers to as a “gritty, romantic modern fairy tale.” Um, okay. It’s really hard to describe. It does have a bit of the Midwinterblood/Brides of Rollrock Island realistic fantasy thing going on: there’s a mysterious substance, in this case, the fish that apparently can only be found on this island and that save the lives of desperately ill people. Rudy’s relationship with Teeth, aka Fishboy, was problematic for me. What was in it for Rudy? I had to pretty much make myself pick up the book and read it, and there was nothing particularly fun about it. But on the other hand, this one really is rolling around in my brain several weeks after I read it, so there’s that. I’ll have to give it some more thought.
I also read Black Helicopters, by Blythe Woolston. I actually feel kind of funny talking about it on the day after the Boston Marathon bombings, because it feels just a bit too close to home. I can easily imagine Valley (short for Valkyrie) deciding that the finish line of the Boston Marathon was just exactly the right place to detonate her bomb. This is a book that I turned back to the first page as soon as I finished the last page. It definitely benefits from a re-read, as you begin to see how the various elements fit together, and who these people really are. I was expecting a different kind of story–more of a standard thriller, I think–but reading this book, told from the perspective of a girl who is just trying to do what she has been taught all of her life to do, was absolutely chilling. So why was I underwhelmed? Again, I’m not sure. Woolston’s writing, I think, holds the reader at a distance. But this is another one that I may want to go back to at a later date.
So I don’t know. These are all good books, but none of them grabbed me and didn’t want to let go. Maybe I’m just in a reading slump. (This may actually be true; I was looking at my list of e-galleys from Edelweiss and Netgalley, and couldn’t get up much enthusiasm for any of them.) Perhaps it’s time to re-read an old favorite, or find an entirely new genre or something. It’s just as well I’m not on any book selection committees this year!
What have you been reading?