Friday, June 12, 2009

It's Not You, It's Me (or books I just won't finish)

Often, I read a summary of a book and know immediately that it's a perfect fit for me. Sometimes...I'm wrong.

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson: I entered every blog contest out there for this book, which sounded perfect for me, but I can't get past the first fifty pages. Southern Gothic? Ghost story? Murder mystery? Sign me up. But this book, which started out with a bang (the ghost of a girl leads Laurel to her body, floating facedown in Laurel's pool) fizzled for me when it became apparent it was going to be more about Laurel's poor, Southern family and her relationships with her husband and sister than about ghosts. The point-of-view switching bothered me as well, and after a couple of tries, I moved on.

Testimony by Anita Shreve: I've always meant to read Anita Shreve, and kept attempting to read The Weight of Water years ago. I was excited to win this one, but Shreve lost me on page four (4!) with the phrase "empurpled penis," which is possibly one of the worst turns of phrase in the English language and, sadly, was not meant to be funny. I cannot believe that an editor didn't kill that phrase. It wasn't just that particular affront to the English language; I had a strong feeling of melodrama/dragging out a story that was less dramatic than the author thought it was, and I *did* try to keep reading past "empurpled penis," but I just didn't care for the writing and it wasn't the book for me.

Someone out there will love these books, I know, but I've got to get them out of here. Every time I see Testimony on my dresser, I think "empurpled penis, empurpled penis" and start laughing uncontrollably. Leave a comment telling me which book you'd like to read and why before Sunday, June 21 at noon and I will pick a winner for each. U.S. and Canada only, with my apologies to everyone living elsewhere.


natasha the exile on Mom Street said...

I want "The Girl Who Stopped Swimming" very much!

I find Joss hit or miss: I adore "Between, Georgia" and have read it more than once. "Ghosts in Alabama" was not as much to my taste, although I did finish it.

Her blog is a hoot:

tutu said...

I'll take either one...I'm don't usually search out ghost stories, so this sounds like one I could handle as I love Southern families (I have one.)

And as for Anita Shreve, I've read some of her others and enjoyed them. The phrase you mentioned doesn't do much for me, but I'm quite adept and going right on past stuff like that if the story's good.

So enter me please

Belinda M said...

I would love the opportunity to read Testimony. It sounds like a good book to me and I have been trying to win it.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

Pam said...

Both of these books are on my wanting to read list. I've read others by Anita Shreve and really enjoyed them. I've never read one by Joshilyn Jackson but I've also entered multiple giveaways in an attempt to win this book.

To choose one, I think I'd like to try out The Girl Who Stopped Swimming.

melacan at hotmail dto com

Rachel said...

I'd like to read Testimony because I like reading any book about New England.

Thanks for the giveaway!

Jess said...

I'd like to be entered for Testimony. jessica(at)fan(dot)com

avisannschild said...

No need to enter me, just wanted to say blurb about the Shreve book had me laughing! I read and reviewed it last year and I don't blame you for passing it on. Definitely my least favourite Shreve, and I consider myself a fan!

brightwingbliss said...

I think I might like "The Girl Who Stopped Swimming" - especially if it is anywhere near as good as "Between, Georgia".

Thanks for giving away these books!


日月神教-任我行 said...