In Which Honesty Is Easier Than Specificity

16 October 2005

Hannah was saying the other day that she wanted specificity and honesty in reviews. I just sat down and read Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys all in one go, and I'm perfectly prepared for honesty, but specificity...umm....

Specifically this book didn't hit me quite right.

Not helpful, I realize. But it just...didn't. I can't come up with anything it did wrong, unless you count "failing to excite me." With American Gods, I pointed at Odin as a problem: I don't require all Odins to be my Odin, but the one in American Gods just didn't work for me as Odin at all. I suspect that this was not actually my problem with American Gods. I suspect that my problem with American Gods was that it did not thrill me.

I've complained about this with Leah Cutter's books, and it didn't reach nearly the same level with Gaiman's books. I didn't sit there wondering if I should bother finishing Anansi Boys, and I will almost certainly buy Gaiman's next, though perhaps not quite this promptly. (Honestly, I didn't buy Anansi Boys this promptly because I was absolutely dying to read it. I bought it because I was in Uncle Hugo's, and I needed books, and nothing was jumping out at me, and I knew I'd want to read it at some point, so why not now?)

Looking back at the book as a whole, there aren't any scenes I think I will reread scrunching down a little in my seat and enjoying not only the scene but also how much I was captivated by it the first time through. There also weren't any scenes that made me go, "blerg, wish I could skim this."

I'm not sure there's anything more specific to say here, but I hope it's honest enough. I'm not secretly sitting around thinking, "What a hack; I hated that book" and nicing it up for the internet. I didn't hate that book. I just didn't love that book. It happens. When you read as much as I do, it probably will happen fairly often.

I'm going to pick up one of the few free advance review copies left on my pile and see how that goes. I'm also reading Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. You know how sometimes you're reading a famous and much-censored book and you get to the bit where you see what they wanted to censor, though you don't want to censor it yourself? Yah. That's the bit I just read, or at least the first of them. Don't know if there'll be more. Haven't gotten there yet. I can't say I'm enjoying this book, but I'm not really not enjoying it, either. It's interesting, and it's one of the classics of American literature that's actually doing things worthy of the term. But it's not what one would call a romp.

Mark and I took Ista up to Lake of the Isles for a walk and wore both of us out. We all three had a Bab5-ish evening with Timprov, and there is an airport run in the uncomfortably near future. And that's some of what I know.

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