Saturday, February 16, 2008

Secret Pleasures, Secret Disappointments

I have to admit. I was at the bookstore again today. This time I was with the whole family, so we spent our time in the children's section, getting books for the girls. But, as we were on our way to the front to pay, I couldn't resist doing another scan of the "Buy One, Get One Half Off" table . . . that I had just looked at a mere 30 hours before.

I can often find my "secret pleasures" on this table. And I'm here to confess. I know the rest of you could confess too - so let's hear it! :^)

Authors I read that might make you groan, in order of worst offender (i.e. I will pretty much buy anything they write) to newest offender - Sophie Kinsella (I happily picked up Shopaholic & Baby yesterday), Marian Keyes, Helen Fielding, Emma McLaughlin, Jennifer Weiner, Meg Cabot (I picked up a book called Big-boned; I haven't read anything by her).

I call these my "clear my brain" authors. They are mindless reads that entertain me. I think some of you might put Maeve Binchy in that category - another author, whom I actually love dearly and have had a reading relationship with since I discovered her in a Dublin bookshop in 1993. So, she's extra special and counts as real to me. :^)

That brings me to Jodi Picoult. I can read her books very quickly; they have a bit of the "clear my brain" effect, but it's different. It might be just the sense of accomplishment of quickly finishing a book, which is a real pick-me-up, for me.

Of her 14 published books, I have read: Songs of the Humpback Whale; Picture Perfect; Mercy; The Pact; Keeping Faith; Plain Truth; Salem Falls; Perfect Match; Second Glance; My Sister's Keeper (the first Picoult book I read in 2006); Vanishing Acts; The Tenth Circle; Nineteen Minutes. O.k., so the only Jodi Picoult book that I haven't read then is Harvesting the Heart - "the story of a young woman overcome by the demands of having a family" (hmmm . . .what a surprise that I haven't read THAT one).

In my most recent Bookmarks magazine, I found the perfect description of Picoult, and it captures why, for me, she is different from my other "clear my brain" authors. It was written as a tag for her forthcoming (March 2008) book Change of Heart - "Picoult is the current master of the current-events-moral-dilemma strain of fiction." Yep, that about says it. It's why I will probably read every book Picoult writes.

And, finally, my (not-so) secret disappointments - books in my pile, started, but probably never, ever to be finished. Here are mine. I know you have some too! What are yours?

The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman
The Mercury Visions of Loius Daguerre by Dominic Smith
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart
The Mother Tongue: English and how it got that way by Bill Bryson (one of my favorite authors!)
The Good German by Jospeh Kanon


Mary said...

Hey, Babs, don't be embarrassed. I think most of us pick up the occasional Chick Lit for a brief escape.

My mom gave me a Debbie Macomber the other day, and I'm sorely tempted.

I think the thing I don't like about Jodi Picoult is that it's always a take on a current moral dilemmna -- I feel like I hear enough about them in real life. (I told you the story about my sister's DIL's stepdaughter -- the same exact story as My Sister's Keeper.)

Oops -- I have a copy of Inheritance of Loss I could have given you.

Megan said...

I have been sort of late coming to the Meg Cabot bandwagon, but I raced through the first three Princess Diary books and can't wait to read more.

I like Jodi Picoult. The first time I read her I thought she was a really good writer. And she is but not as good as I thought at first. The one thing I don't like is that her books definitely don't hold up to a second read.

But I come bearing news of a contest for her new book that I thought might interest you.

Enter here.