I finished listening to the audio version of Alice Hoffman's Blue Diary. If you recall, this is the story of a family in a small town outside of Boston that seems too good to be true, and so when the husband is arrested for the rape and murder of a girl in another town fifteen years earlier, the family and the town are shattered. I mentioned that I wasn't really enjoying it, but that I would stick with it because I enjoy stories about people's secret lives revealed. Well, I did not enjoy it, and I think it's because it wasn't really about the man's hidden secrets so much as it was about the relationships of the people in the town. But not the immediate relationships, more the past relationships, doled out to the reader in small "Timbit"-sized portions, leading nowhere. I guess I wanted the "whole donut". The novel is told in two narrative voices, the omniscient voice that represents the whole town and the past and present lives of the adults who grew up there, and the direct first-person voice of Kat, an adolescent girl who is best friends with the accused man's son. Although I don't usually like stories narrated by children, teens or pre-teens, I preferred Kat's sections to the omniscient sections, which, unfortunately for me, made up most of the novel. I was then checking my MP3 player for other books I've downloaded to start something else, and found that I had downloaded two more of Hoffman's titles, which I started listeneing to. Both titles began very much the way this one had, so I stopped right then and there. My other readily-available options were Maeve Binchy and Agatha Christie, so I chose Firefly Summer, which may be Binchy's fist novel. It's got 19 parts, so I think it will take me a while to get through it, but I'm sure it will be enjoyable. Hurray!!
I've been trying to read this past week, but it's been a rather distjointed one for me, and so I haven't finished even one novel. I started reading The First Lady Chatterley by D.H. Lawrence, which I borrowed from the library last weekend, and I have to say, knowing that I will be reading the later version for my book club meeting, it seemed a waste to read this previous, in my opinion much flatter, version. If I recall correctly, the final version, Lady Chatterley's Lover, offers so much more emotion and context to the reader, and the characters are so much fuller. So I stopped reading that after a few days. Then I started reading Blue Monday, a novel by Nicci French which was recommended to me. It is the first in a new series by French, and tells the story of a psychologist with a patient who describes a dream in which he has a child, a child who resembles too closely an actual child abducted recently, and the ensuing investigation. I've listened to other audiobooks by this author (really a husband-and-wife team) and found them enjoyable, but I suspected that they may not be the types of books I would like to actually read, and I found this to be the case. I may give it another try later, but it just didn't grab me at this time. Then I started reading a novel by Kate Grenville, an author one of my book club ladies has recommended to me. The novel is The Idea of Perfection and tells the story of a divorced man and a quirky woman who meet in a small town in New South Wales. I have a copy of this book, and may read it at some other time, but again, it just didn't grab me. I think it's the writing style, too choppy, like a stutter, with not enough full paragraphs or even full dialogue exchanges between characters.
I was getting worried, as I was starting to think the problem was with me, but then I picked up Michael Robotham's new novel, Say You're Sorry, from the library yesterday, and I knew the problem was not me, it was the book selections. I began this 400+ page British mystery novel yesterday afternoon and am a quarter of the way through already. I wanted to read more, but needed to rest my eyes. It's fabulous, and I will write more about it when I've finished it. I'm so happy and reassured that I've not gone off reading!
That's all for today.
Bye for now!