You will think I am cheating. This is not so. I take this job seriously. To give you, the followers of the Wild About Books blog, an outstanding resource for fulfilling your literary snobbery. Raising the bar as high as I can raise it so that you don’t have to read bad books.
Last week I went for a Costco run to Missoula. I was by myself and took the time to browse through the book section. I came across several novels that looked promising. Then found a section of trade paperbacks.
I have seen that term before and find good books in the “trade paperback book” sections, but never knew what it meant. Wikipedia’s description is:
“Trade paperbacks are typically priced lower than hardcover books and higher than mass-market paperbacks.”
They are also larger in size than a mass market paperback. Maybe it’s like shopping at Target instead of K-Mart. I do know that when I am in a used bookstore that I am looking for those oversized paperbacks in order to find a better quality book.
In the trade paperback section, there are a lot of books that I have read. I found one that I had not read by Kristin Hannah called “Night Road”. If you remember , we read “The Nightingale” by the same author, which was a fantastic book, well written, intriguing story with wonderful characters. I threw “Night Road” in my cart, excited to have a new novel to read.
I managed to get through 82 pages of “Night Road”, waiting, waiting, waiting for a beautiful story to develop. Waiting for the characters to have some depth. It never happened. This was one of the worst books I have ever experienced. I only made it through 82 pages because I had faith in the writing of Kristin Hannah and because I had spent cash money on this book.
“Night Road” was like eating a bad pistachio and all you want to do is get the horrible taste out of your mouth. You can spit spit spit but until you eat a good pistachio, that taste lingers
I was in dire need of some challenging, thought provoking literature. I scanned the classics on amazon thinking that Dickens or Bronte` could get this bad taste out of my mouth. Nothing looked enticing.
Maybe my problem was that I had just finished reading the March book of the month “The Shadow of the Wind” which was so incredibly literarily satisfying that I had become spoiled and had upped my book snobbery a few levels.
Here’s the beauty. Carlos Ruis Zafon wrote a series of books. The Cemetary of Forgotten Books series of which “The Shadow of the Wind” is the first in the series.
This is where you will think I am cheating.
I put a sample of book two “The Angel’s Game” onto my kindle. I wasn’t going to waste money on a book without trying it out first. On the first page of this book the bad taste of literary trailer trash left me. In its place were the flowing words that magically suck you off the couch and into the story.
I want to share the first paragraph with you to see what I mean:
“A writer never forgets the first time he accepted a few coins or a word of praise in exchange for a story. He will never forget the sweet poison of vanity in his blood and the belief that, if he succeeds in not letting anyone discover his lack of talent, the dream of literature will provide him with a roof over his head, a hot meal at the end of the day, and what he covets the most; his name printed on a miserable piece of paper that surely will outlive him. A writer is condemned to remember that moment, because from then on he is doomed and his soul has a price.”
Wait, wait. One more. Just one more quote and then you can go safely spend your cash money on this book of the month.
“Envy is the religion of the mediocre. It comforts them, it soothes their worries, and finally it rots their souls, allowing them to justify their meanness and their greed until they believe these to be virtues. Such people are convinced that the doors of heaven will be opened only to poor wretches like themselves who go through life without leaving any trace but their threadbare attempts to belittle others and to exclude – and destroy if possible- those who, by the simple fact of their existence, show up their own poorness of spirit, mind, and guts.”
The April 2016 Book of the Month is a prequel, which is a first for us; “The Angel’s Game” by Carlos Ruis Zafon.
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