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April 4, 2014

Friday Reads: Two Likes and a Little Loathing

It is Friday and I am reporting on my reading, so I’m not technically late for FridayReads. If you squint. The exciting news, from our end, is that I’ve been reading not one but two books that are good enough that we plan to publish them! One’s an irresistibly well written piece of non-fiction – I know, quite a departure for us, but it is written by one of our best-loved authors – and the other is a terrific British psychological chiller, never previously published on this side of the Pond. Why am I being so coy? The contracts aren’t signed yet: Look for proper announcements when they are.

Of course, I’m typically in the middle of about 16 books, and some of the other reading matter hasn’t been so delightful. I bought Marrying Anita on the strength of a charming article the author had published a few years ago in New York magazine.  I can only assume she had a terrific editor at New York (and lacked one – in spades – at Bloomsbury USA, which published the book). Marrying Anita reads like an endless blog post, written with no awareness of the difference between crafting a narrative for an audience and essentially burping onto the page. The author details the minutiae of a thousand dreary dates – what she wore (too little), what she drank (too much), the teenage-level flaws (too pudgy, too short, looked askance at her third double-vodka) of her sub-par suitors. To my astonishment, I actually finished the book, though I found the author more tedious with every passing page. At some level I must have wanted to know whether she ever managed to muster even a shred of self-awareness.

Not a smidgen. I had to read nearly half of Shirley Jackson’s Life Among the Savages to remove the bad taste from my mind.



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