Tuesday, March 04, 2008

let’s talk books

(march 3, 2008)

i have postponed writing this until i finished the book Eat, Pray, Love to give it’s author Liz Gilbert the benefit of the doubt that it might actually improve, but it didn’t. and that leaves me here to talk about 2 books that i just read in succession that i did not enjoy.

#1 – The Time Traveller’s Wife
my thoughts on this are the following: there were too many gaps. so, you’re telling me that this dude just materialises naked in places and then disappears and no one else ever notices. very good concept and i cannot imagine how difficult it must have been for the author to conceptualise all of that time travel, but i did not entirely buy it. but perhaps my biggest problem with the book is that i did not like either of the main characters. i think it is possible to enjoy a book even you do not like the protagonists, but in this case, i really did not care what happened to either of them. and it was sad, but not in the tragic sad way, but in a more mundane ‘wow, this sucks’ way.

my thoughts on this book are pretty surprising considering it has been highly recommended by a number of people (including one of my favourite book recommenders), but it didn’t do it for me and i am afraid i will not pass on the recommendation to read 500 pages that is time better spent elsewhere (and where, you might ask? just try me and i will come up and about a million and ten books that you absolutely must read).

#2 – Eat, Love, Pray
this book has some glimmers of hope, some moments where i thought, ‘hell yeah, that’s right, you totally articulated something that has been floating around my own head.’
but mostly it was whiny, annoying, nauseatingly ‘western,’ sickeningly ‘oh, feel sorry for me, i am such a product of my circumstance, but i just love things like yoga and meditation and feeling god in my presence and i am so getting in touch with my eastern religious side and i just feel like i was born to live in an ashram, oh but now look at me, now i love the physical pleasures of life all over again, ok maybe that whole mediation thing wasn’t totally my life path, but this so is, oh yes this is it, yay, let me tell you about it again in a random fashion that has no direction and is just my thoughts sprawled on pages at whim.’

a bit harsh? i don’t doubt it, but the problem with a memoir is that if you do not like the person writing it and if you think that if you met that person their stories about life with medicine men who feed them bs and their glorification of other cultures would make you throw up in your mouth, well then there is a problem. and i am afraid, ms Liz Gilbert, that i do not like you. and it naturally follows that i will not like her memoir, which i did not. apart from the moments of clarity where she puts away her woe-is-me and i-embrace-the-culture-in-which-i-reside self righteousness aside and she says something worthwhile, the book is tough to get through. but i did. and i wouldn’t recommend you do.

i am still readying myself to start We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families. but considering I have an upcoming trip planned to rwanda, i think i should finish this and try and fit in Sunday at the Pool in Kigali too.

5 comments:

riena said...

I have also read the Time Traveller's Wife. I treated it as a total fairy tale and didn't mind it. To me it was a story of true unconditional love. But it won't go on my favorites list. Another book not to bother reading is "he River of the Brokenhearted". Talk about depressing. I quit reading it half way through, it just wasn't getting any better. Right now I'm reading "Emma" by Jane Austen. The only reason I'm sticking to this one is that I want to be more knowledgable about the classics.

kels said...

ha lu i am sorry you did not like the time travellers wife...perhaps i am too schmoopy but it made me ball at the end. i also just finished eat, love and pray...it was cheesy, as you said, but i think the desire for a bit of spirituality resounded in me a little...i could stand to find a little myself. hope you are well and reading lots...

lu said...

rk - i am impressed with your commitment to the classics, i never have patience for them, but i know that in there are great stories written by great women of their time. one day...

km - the thing with eat, pray, love was that the woman was exactly like those obnoxious canadians and americans you meet abroad who are all about having a 'native experience' and never stop to realise that they reek of colonial arrogance.

again, i know, a bit harsh. but i did like the way that she was incorporating spirituality into her life and did a lot of self analysis, which was apparent in her writing.

kristen said...

i think i got swept up in the idea and the mood created by the time traveller's wife and just didn't think about the rest...

as for eat pray love...well, it is in my pile of books coming next (so i will consider myself warned)...right under "the end of poverty". i can't believe i'm looking forward to reading about the economy...

lu said...

oh, contrary to the rest of this post - i quite liked The End of Poverty!

go sachs!