|The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt|
Last night I had dinner with two women that love reading as much as I do. The subject of how we pick books and what will turn us away from something we thought might be good came up in the conversation. Two books that I had read were on the considered but dumped list. A personal friend had in both cases told the reader that the books were not worth the time it took to read them. You will be amazed at what the two books were.
The first was the Pulitzer Prize winning The Goldfinch and the second was the runaway bestseller Gone Girl: the novel. I was truly surprised. Both of these books had gone through a great deal of scrutiny by people that judge books on the quality of the writing. And they were best sellers to the general public. They are two very different books and two very good books. It has to be all about taste.
The Goldfinch was a pulitzer prize winner recently so I chose to read it for that reason. It was not a simple read nor was it uplifting. But it was one of the most interesting reading journeys I have taken in a while. I struggled with the wordiness sometimes but it is my choice to skip over too much detail if I want.
I can honestly say that I would recommend it to a reader that likes unusual writing style and subject matter. But then I loved Wally Lamb's books. Like The Goldfinch, I Know This Much is True and She's Come Undone were not easy to read. I always thought Lamb's books spoke to the strength of the human spirit. I suppose The Goldfinch falls into that category.
But I know that I have an unusual reading list. My daughter always tells me to quit recommending those "strength of the human spirit" books. She doesn't like them.
As for Gone Girl, I love a good suspense novel and that one certainly got my interest to the point I almost forgot to get dressed for a couple of days. My daughter would have loved this one.
I have not read the Fifty Shades of Gray series, not because they are not wonderful books but they are not my cup of tea at all. I can't read anything Steven King...they scare me and I can't get those images out of my head after they are in there. I don't read romance novels because they don't keep my interest and Zane Grey was not my favorite. See what I mean about "personal likes and dislikes"? We each have our own style of reading.
Is there a point here? Well I suppose the dinner conversation taught me that my taste is not the same as others. My tolerance for some subject matter is different too. But most of all I am reminded that, while critics have their place, we need to make our own judgements.
So, what is on your list of good reads these days? I am very interested in what is new or even old out in the world.