Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Call me old fashioned...

...but I think I'm old enough now to know what I like and what I don't.
Or rather, what I can tolerate and what I simply can't be arsed to any longer.  And I think I've reached that stage in my life where I'm absolutely allowed to say 'enough', 'move on', 'life's too short' and all that jazz.
Okay, let's get to the point.

My last book came through from the lovely Transworld people when we got back from Italy last week and, dutifully, excitedly, even, I got stuck in straight away.  But I don't like it.  It's full of rich people who run casinos in Las Vegas and who are clearly harbouring ill-gotten secrets that I already am not the slightest bit interested in finding out about.  And there's chicks, airheady bimbos, gangster bouncer-types, babes and stud-muffins - in fact all manner of alien life form (not literally, there's no proper green people prior to page 40) that I just can't  - dare I say 'won't'? - connect with.

Not since my Jilly Cooper heyday with all the horses and the 'gosh'es and the mummy's darlings dripping with education and million-carat mansions have I ever felt less connected to my main characters.  But back then I read them because I didn't 'get' the big deal with horses (my friends rode all the time and I thought I must be missing out on something) and thought the answer may have lain between Ms Cooper's lines.  The sex scenes were pretty cool too, of course.  In lieu of my mother ever telling me what went where, I learnt pretty much what I needed to do when faced with a straw bale, a pure-bred gelding and guy in jodhpurs wielding a whip.

Of course this knowledge would have come in handy had the only horse I ever came into real contact with, not sprayed snot all over my forehead before standing painfully on my foot and putting me off anything to do with stables for the rest of my life.

Some would call it Karma, I call it a lucky escape.

If anyone has a hankering for a gold-plated read, then let me know and the book is theirs.  I don't like to see words go to waste and it's not the authors' fault that I'm not impressed.  If she'd set the exact same story at the head office at Asda I might be more inclined for forge through.
But forging's too much effort, no?

So onto the next book.
Romantic Hero or Funny TV Guy?
Which my lovely niece lent me after she'd finished reading it in Italy.  And... well... call me old fashioned.... intolerant... whatever (go on - I can take anything at my age!) the minute I'd read this in the acknowledgements, I was already slightly irritated before I'd even started...

"...thanks to ***  for your help and enthusiasm, which were much appreciated..."

Is that right?  "were"I read it once, I read it twice... I read it backwards, I shut my eyes and re-read it.  I even shouted it aloud to the Girl who was in the next room and she shouted back "eeeee-wwww!" so I knew it wasn't just me.

And even though I gave it a fair shot, the whole style of the writing annoyed me to inner screaming levels.  There was a "for" in almost every sentence e.g.  "the air was chilly, for the sun had since waned"  and "she had moved south, for there was no work in York..."  stuff like that.  And normally I'm all for conjunctives... but not the same bleedin' one every time.... per-lease.
And then six characters were introduced in two paragraphs.
Pass me the smelling salts somebody, it's only page 7!
I knew the Right Time had come when I read/re-read/lol'd at this:

..."She had missed him and Lotte a lot, though..."

Lotte... a lot...?  Weren't there any more words in the writer's toolkit than the one that sounded the same as the character's name? does the synonym icon not work south of the border?

And I just couldn't get over the fact that David Mitchell (of Mitchell and Webb/Peep Show - him up there) was actually a character in this either.  Apparently he'd bid at a charity auction to appear as a character in this book.  A wholly admirable thing to do, of course and generally I'm very happy and a bit swoony when he's being all clever and funny on TV.  But as a character in a book, he's not exactly the brooding, swarthy hero I have in my head for moments such as these and I couldn't concentrate properly.

Somebody please tell me it's not just me? Oh, and the Girl.  Maybe it's our Genes.  Do we need ones with slightly more 'give' in them?


Talli Roland said...

Hahaha! I'm laughing because I know exactly which book you're talking about. :)

I agree with you on the David Mitchell thing. Every time his name popped up, I couldn't help but think of something comic. It was a bit jarring! But I did like the story and the intrigue. I thought it was a good example of a 'page turner' and I certainly kept turning!

Interesting to see your take on it! :)

Debs Riccio said...

Oooh dear, Talli, I hope she doesn't read this - I hate not being able to say anything nice about books... I even flipped to the end to see if it would sway me. Am afraid this lady ain't for swayin'!

Keris said...

I've finally thought of a comparison!

"Thanks to Debs for the hat and coat, which WERE much appreciated."

Yes? No?

I'll get me coat.

Debs Riccio said...

You're right, Keris, that does sound better. Wonder what makes the 'original' sound so "off"... will speak to English Master at school today and ask him!

Keris said...

It's obviously not clear cut cos it took me days to think of an example! (It was driving me mad!) :)