Yesterday a group of colleagues (and friends) went to high tea to celebrate the upcoming birth of Lauren’s baby boy. Lauren is a HUGE reader – this girl burns through books, so we talked a bit about what we are reading. I mentioned that I’m currently reading Bird Box by John Malerman, and gave everyone a quick rundown on its terrifying dystopian plot. At this point, Sarah asked me why I would like a book like that, but have zero interest in the Game of Thrones series (which she’s currently burning through).
It was a good question. Everyone loves Game of Thrones, right? Not me.
For me, books just don’t resonate if I can’t ground them in reality. I love books that twist and reshape reality, but I like to think about what could happen in the world we live in, and simply don’t really care about worlds that don’t really exist. Imagined kingdoms and lands just don’t do it for me.
As with all types of art, this is purely a personal preference and something unlikely to change too much, though there are always exceptions to every rule. For Chad, the more hard core the sci-fi or the fantasy novel the better, which means it’s a rare and exciting book when both of us read it and enjoy it (which is currently the case with Bird Box. More on that when I finish it).
I’m sure I’m going to get an earful on how wrong I am and how I should give certain things a chance, and that’s fine…but it’s not likely going to happen.
Anyway, back to my latest reads. I’m up to 22 books read in 2014 and have two to talk about.
The first is Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen. I’ve read a few other books by her back in the days when I was reading everything Oprah recommended, and thought she was fine, but not too memorable. A few months ago I heard her interviewed about this book on CBC and really liked her as a person, so thought I’d throw this request into the library.
My memory of her writing was pretty bang on. This book is fine, but not too memorable. A once famous photographer with dwindling resources, sublets her New York apartment and moves to a cabin in upstate New York where she revives her career and begins a new life with the locals. Fine. Not too memorable. It took me too long to get through, not because it was a tough read at all – in fact, it’s an extremely easy read. I just didn’t really feel motivated or compelled to pick it up.
The second book, though…holy crap.
Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia blew me away. This book was nearly impossible to put down.
It starts in the early 1980s with a 12 year old girl, bored of bridesmaid duties at her sister’s wedding, running around the Bellweather Hotel. On the seventh floor she stumbles onto a horrifying scene – a groom in a tuxedo shot in the chest, and a bride in her wedding gown, hanging from an extension cord in Room 712. Fifteen years later to the date, the weekend of a high school statewide music workshop, this girl returns to face her fears, only to find that something else is going on in Room 712. Told from the perspective of several characters including Minnie (the girl), a twin brother and sister (bassoonist and singer respectively) who have secrets of their own, their music teacher chaperone, the hotel’s haunted concierge, the orchestra’s conductor and the ice cold head of the music program, this novel is as close to an old-school Agatha Christie mystery as I’ve read in a long time. Great characters, a fantastic setting, and a plot that leaves you guessing to the end.
Love, love, loved this book.
As I said, Bird Box is on the go now. Should be done this weekend.
Also…I hate the Game of Thrones TV series. There. I said it.