Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Terrible taste in books

I missed my last book group meeting, so I got no say in what book we're reading this month.

Olive Kitteridge. That's what they chose. It's an annoying choice, because it's ridiculously popular. There were nearly 400 holds on it at the library, but I gamely added my name to the long list.

Of course it hasn't come in yet. 400 other people want to read it first. So now it's just a few days before book group and I'm forced to, gasp, BUY a book that I'm not too keen on reading.

Lest anyone mistakenly think I have highbrow taste in books, let me dispel that misconception immediately: I saw on the cover that it won the Pulitzer Prize, and I was even more depressed. Yuck, I have to read something that won the Pulitzer? I'm *sure* not to like it!

Then comes the complete kiss of death for me: a quote from O Magazine on the front cover. Ugh. If there's one thing I can count on Oprah for, it's picking books I'll hate. I've come to really appreciate this about her, as someone with exactly the opposite taste as you is just as useful as someone with exactly the same taste.

I plunked down my $12 for the book, cringing the whole time.

And I started it with much reservation this afternoon, while the kids were watching The Backyardigans so I could FINALLY have some lunch at 2pm.

You know what? It's pretty good. Depressing as all get out so far, but not bad. I'm only about 30 pages in, but it's already captured me enough that I'm definitely looking forward to having time to read after the kids go to sleep tonight.

This is why I love a book group. I NEVER would have picked this book up. Sure, who knows what I'll ultimately think of this book, but I'm glad I'm giving it a go! And I'm glad I didn't get a vote this month, as I'm sure I would have picked something different. When I get involved, we end up with something like Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk, which is what we read last month. I'm pretty sure there was never any risk of that novel winning the Pulitzer!

If you're in a book group, are there any books like this, where you didn't want to read it and then was pleasantly surprised?


Mommy, Esq. said...

I feel the same way about Oscar nominated films - always depressing and never lives up to the hype. Did you know there is a used book store on Main Street in Stoneham? Also, I have a fantasy book recommendation for you - the series is the Tide Lords (four books) by Jennifer Fallon - very, very good. I just got the fourth book.

What A Card said...

I love that book store! It's one of my favorites, though the parking (or lack there of) is an annoyance with the kids. There's even a playground across the street behind city hall!

One of the owners makes these awesome kitschy little purses. I have one that I love, though it's too small for me now that I have to tote around two giant epipens for B-man :( I only get to use it if I remember to swap it out when I'm out by myself.

I'll have to check those books out. Unbelievably, I'm once again out of reading material. Sounds like a trip to the used book store is in order!

LauraC said...

I am the same way about Oprah! If she recommends a book, I know to avoid it. The only reason I read The Corrections (which I did end up loving) was bc Franzen rejected her recommendation.

I used to be a big user of Amazon recommendations for book recs. This was in 2000-20001. I moved from SF and Chicago and bought a toaster oven and blender from there. And suddenly my entire book recommendations list was FULL of Oprah books. I was livid.

I emailed their customer service explaining if someone moves to a new zip code and starts buying appliances, perhaps they could recommend books about the new city rather than assume someone buying appliances wants Oprah books. The emails back and forth between customer service were hilarious!!