Friday, June 29, 2007

Two books and a bit more

Time for some book reviews - one written by one of my favourite authors, the other by someone who should definitely consider getting into another occupation... I'll begin with the would-have-been-better-if-never-published one. It was recommended to me by my dear friend A, let's just say we totally disagree on the worth reading quality of this particular book...

PS I Love You by Cecelia Ahern - when A first described the storyline I thought it reminded me more than a lot of Lolly Winston's Good Grief. A book I very much enjoyed reading, perhaps not the literary equivalent of a Michelin star, but fun, empathetic, wistful and hopeful.

So I bought Ahern's book - even though I'm rather apprehensive when excerpts from reviews state that it's a sensational debut novel written by a mere 21 year old with an impressive amount of insight and wisdom, from sources I've sort of never heard of...

And I was actually annoyed just by reading the first page - just too much of Good Grief there, it's a fine line between rip off and your own words... But I was adamant to read on, even though I flinched at the completely foreseeable-have-read-that-a-thousand-times-before-not-an-original-idea-to-be-found-here way of using the words.

I doubt my impression of this miserable immature, unoriginal piece of words-put-together can be blamed on the translation into Swedish. And I don't think it's a very far fetched thing to hold this book as a textbook example of something that's only published due to the writer having the right connections rather than a true talent for writing.

I made it as far as page 142 - only on sheer stubbornness. There's such a thing as chicklit - really don't like that word... - witty and enjoyable to read, even if it isn't a literary masterpiece of Nobel prize winning measures *even though I doubt that's the absolute true measure rod of "good" literature...*. And the substandard stuff that just surf on the genre's easy to read-popularity. So please, spare me, spare the genre and go out into the world and find your true talent calling.
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On the other scale of putting words to paper and composing the most wonderful books we have Anita Shreve. In this case the book The Last Time They Met - I'm ashamed to admit it took be about 2,5 years to finish this beautiful, bittersweet, so sad book... Not because it's neither badly written, nor uninteresting. Far from.

I just wasn't in the mood, in hindsight I think it could have something to do with the fact that the story took place backwards - as the title states. The couple only met three times during their lifetime, and it's quite heartbreaking to know from the start that this will be about a life, a love unlived. And having read the first - last - third part of the book you know how it ends...

But as it turned out, when I finally continued reading it, it wasn't. And the very last sentence of the book keeps haunting me, what really happened? And the question mark grew bigger once I saw the movie The Weight of Water... Such a deeply moving piece of literature.

As all her books I'd imagine, the once I've read so far are Strange Fits of Passion and Fortune's Rock. I love the skillful way she let her plots manoeuvres back and forth in time. Next up will be All He Ever Wanted and Sea Glass. Books not to be read quickly, hasty but savoured and enjoyed with both mind and soul now and then. Dependable, but never boring, always moving and often wistful, giving food for thought.


Unknown said...

I actually bought PS I Love You while I was on vacation last year; and had a remarkably similar experience. It was the only thing I had to read in the airport/plane - and I finished it out of sheer boredom. Somehow the in-flight shopping magazine didn't quite compare to literary drivel. ;)


Pia K said...

I guess reading a book because of "boredom" and "stubbornness" aren't really the best of reasons an author would want to hear...:)

I'd probably also go for even this book if I had to chose between that and the inflight mag!

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