23 June 2013
Sunday Salon: Trying to break out of my rut
I've been in a rut as far as my fiction selections are concerned. My nonfiction selections are varied, but the novels I pick are usually romances. I often narrow things down even further and pick historical romances set in America in the 1800s. For a while I tried to make myself feel better about it. Like a lot of people, I was once rather dismissive of romance novels and embarrassed to let people know I read them. I've (almost) gotten over that, but I still want to become more well-read and vary my reading choices.
With that in mind, I picked up John Dies at the End by David Wong. I was attracted to this book because the blurb reminded me of a scarier version of the Sesame Street children's book The Monster at the End of this Book:
STOP. You should not have touched this flyer with your bare hands. NO, don't put it down. It's too late. They're watching you.
So far I've gotten to page 21 and I don't know if I will even be able to give this book the 50-page test. The humor and the absurd situations reminds me of Tom Robbins, whose novels I loved in my 20s even when I didn't always understand them. However, in the scenarios where Robbins usually referenced sex, Wong references a violent act or something that you would see in a gross-out comedy. Part of me wants to keep reading it because it is different than what I usually read, and I've always heard that smart people push themselves through difficult prose. On the other hand, I have 250+ titles on my TBR list and many of them are not romances. I could push myself with a title that doesn't talk about a doorknob turning into a flaccid male member in the protagonist's hand.
UPCOMING: The Great Gatsby is next on my list. My daughter C1 was assigned this book for summer reading and I told her that I would read it with her if she wanted. I read it when I was a teenager but didn't understand it, so it has been on my short list of "try again" books for quite a while. At first she said she didn't want my help ("We are not a book club, Mother"), but then she surrendered to the idea about six pages in. I hope the intervening years have sharpened my brain enough to understand the book more this time. If not, there is always Sparknotes!