The thing about books…

I’ve told you all about my best friend Erin, who has undertaken the challenge of reading every book on the list of “1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die” and to blog about her adventures in reading.  I also told you how amazing I thought it was because I read some of the books on that list and they were BORING.  Well…it seems for Erin’s first 17 selections, she scanned the list and chose the titles that I was least likely to read.  In fact…the week she read Robinson Crusoe I lost interest halfway through the title…which, in its entirety, is…The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un‐inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver’d by Pyrates.

I mean, seriously?  If I can’t make it through the title, how am I going to make it through the book?  Let me tell you…there’s been a lot of Bronte Sisters going on over there and I can’t read that stuff without Cliff Notes.  I know because I read Wuthering Heights again last year and it took me forever.  I had to re-read a lot of pages and by the end I was just skimming it to get the gist.  After all, I had read it before…I knew how it ended. 

Anyway…Erin was 17 books in and I had read not one of those books and I have had nothing of substance to contribute in my blog comments.  Instead, I have been forced to leave (somewhat witty and amusing) comments about how her choices are boring and how I’d like her to read something that I’m actually interested in so we can actually talk about a book once in a while.  I’ve also registered these complaints (loudly) whenever we’ve spoken.

What I’ve really been hoping she would read is Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, which I loved and would totally read again along with her…but, basically, I’ve just been hoping for something written in the last 50 years. 

Finally, last week I got my wish.  I response to all my bitching, Erin’s selection of the week was The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen.  I was thrilled…because this book has been on my radar ever since it came out and I keep meaning to read it.  Finally…Erin and I were going to read the same book at the same time!

Coming off the heels of Bossypants, I was happy to read something a little more “brainy”…well, maybe not brainy, but I was sure no one was going to talk about Sarah Palin rapping on Weekend Update, so it made me feel smart.  Anyway…I dove right in and started reading… 

And reading…

And reading…

After three days of reading I was only on page 88…and I didn’t think I could keep going.

See…I read to be entertained.  I want something funny to make me laugh…or something suspenseful so I can try to figure out whodunit…or, at least, something that doesn’t make me so depressed that I want to hurl myself in front of the bus.  The Corrections did not fit these requirements.  The characters are all depressed and one is slightly creepy.  They are all anxious and guilt-ridden and…just annoying.  I deal with enough people in my day-to-day life that are annoying.  I don’t want to be annoyed by fictional characters.

I made it to page 100.  Then I stopped and started reading If You Were Here by Jen Lancaster…which is hilarious and I love it. 

I used to feel like I had to read and like books that everyone else liked or that Oprah said I should like or that required a little more thought than the most recent Mary Higgins Clark (which I figured out after 20 pages)…especially with a best friend that reads Victorian literature for fun.  But no matter how many times I try, I just really don’t like those kind of books.  So give me chick lit or a trashy suspense novel any day! 

I’m 25 books into my 101 List goal of 100…and when I’m finished and I look back and see my list filled with things like Bossypants by Tina Fey and My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster and Chelsea, Chelsea, Bang, Bang by Chelsea Handler…I know I won’t be any more enlightened for having read them…but I will know I laughed my ass off.

What do you guys like to read?  Have you read The Corrections?  Did you like it?  What about The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake?…because I just didn’t get it at all.


  1. I tried to read “The Corrections” too but it made me anxious and bummed out….really made me feel worried about the future of my marriage. What if my husband and I turn out like this couple? Scary!

    I am very picky about what I read. I have a degree in English and read lots of BORING literature in college. Lots. I just don’t have the focus, the desire, or the will to trudge through many of the classics.

    If I find a book I enjoy, that grabs me, I will be like a dog with a bone. You can’t pry it out of my hands. But it seems harder and harder to find a book that does that. Oh well, it’s not like I read that much anyway. Ever since the blog world sucked me in, I rarely pick up a piece of fiction.

  2. I’m like you – I want to be entertained when I read. I have a feeling your list would match up pretty well with mine. I have not read The Corrections, but then, I haven’t read in quite a while. The last thing I read was House Rules and I really enjoyed it.

  3. I felt the same way about the Corrections – didn’t finish it, it made me sad.
    When I was younger, and going through a horrible depression, my Mom told me it was all the Oprah books I was reading and she banned me from picking up another one.
    And the Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake was just…odd. Wasn’t a fan.
    I do enjoy non-fiction though – Malcolm Gladwell is good, and I enjoyed Sarah Silverman’s biography…

  4. Yeah…I’m almost halfway through The Corrections now and it isn’t going to be a very nice review unless something drastic happens to take the book in a different direction. Sorry…I did try!!! I’ll read Never Let Me Go sometime soon, but already read it a few years ago and I LOVED it too.

  5. I’m all about the YA genre these days! After spending way too long to finish The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest I needed some quick easy reads. I am number four was predictable but good, Divergent was really, really good!

  6. I find myself inspired by Erin’s feat, and encouraged to give it a try myself. At the same time I know I would NEVER get through them all. I would probably get to about 20 and lose interest. There are so many good books out there and great ones that never make 1001 lists. So I couldn’t do it. Plus by the time I got through them all I would likely be about 20 years behind the times in current fiction. That just won’t do.

    Books I have LOVED lately that are all kinds of awesome and easy to read – Lamb: The Gospel according to Biff Christ’s Childhood pal – Christopher Moore. HILARIOUS.

    And the Hunger Games triology. You know I’m not one for trilogies – but this is a series for 12-14yr olds so super easy to read and when you do you’ll think “seriously this is for 12 yr olds?” And it’s coming out in a movie soon. Perfect.

    And I just finished The Help. Which I liked. Nothing earth shattering about it – it wasn’t new information to me it was just good.

    Last one – one of my favourites of all time – A Thousand Splendid Suns. It’s not chick lit, it’s not a whodunit, but it is amazing. I cried my face off through the whole thing.

    OH! And Mornings in Jenin too – soo good.

    I hear you for loving a funny book but I couldn’t do it – all fluff all the time. There’s so many AWESOME books out there with really important topics presented in a way that for me is so much more telling than watching it on the news. Give them a chance Shana – but I completly agree – give up the books of 100 years ago – no thanks.

  7. Yeah I have a hard time reading books that don’t grab me early on. BossyPants was awesome because it was funny and such a quick easy read.

  8. I’m not quite sure when it was that I refused to read something just because Oprah liked it, but it was quite some time ago. When it comes to books, I’m not much into the everyone’s-reading-it camp.

    Which is ironic since I’m a compulsive online book club joiner and usually read the books but have yet to make it to a single meetup, book chat or what have you.

    My reading falls into 3 categories: Non-fiction (either creative business, autobio or memoir), Cookbooks (and books on various facets of food), Chick-Lit Mysteries with a supernatural/occult slant (which I binge on every 6 months or so and then go back to the other categories).

  9. I haven’t read the Corrections, but my coworker recently gave me Bossypants and told me I must read it so it’s next up. I’ve been stuck reading a book I’m not thrilled with for a blog post I’m working on but I kind of want to give up… 20 pages in. Oy. But you know what you like and I think it’s important to find that in your reading material. Your time is important to you. Why waste it reading something you won’t get any kind of enjoyment out of? Just my two cents :)

    My favorite recent book is Water for Elephants and I recently saw the movie which was excellent. Have you read that one?

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