Wednesday, November 20, 2002

The Reject Pile

Those books not good enough to recommend....


Travels in a Thin Country by Sara Wheeler – About her trip through Chile. I’d intended to read this before I went to Patagonia last month, but it didn’t happen – so when I saw a copy at Half-Price Books right after I got back, I bought it. I didn’t miss anything by not reading this before my trip, since she spends all of 2 pages on Torres Del Paine, which she did in a day trip(!!) - and that pretty much captures the book. It’s very superficial. There’s a lot of “I met these people, or those friends-of-friends-of friends, and we went drinking” - sort of a small, mobile frat party, with a constantly changing cast of characters. She does comment on the political background (Allende and Pinochet), and people’s commentary about it, including the ongoing squabbles between Chile and Argentina; she discusses the Indians who inhabited the continent before the Europeans showed up; and every once in a while, she writes a good description of a beautiful area of the country. But it’s all very superficially done and not particularly cohesive. Mediocre at best.


Emma by Jane Austin – I love Pride and Prejudice, but was disappointed by Emma…. so much so that I didn’t even finish it. This book lacks the wit of Pride & Prejudice and I just got tired of reading about the manipulative, self-absorbed, flighty heroine.

Plowing the Dark by Richard Powers - Like The Gold Bug Variations, (which I really enjoyed,) this book has two stories going on, but they don’t tie together well and the writing seemed pretentious.

Airplane/Beach Reading

The Inimitable Jeeves by P.G.Wodehouse – Ok, I gave up. I rarely quit before finishing a book – but I was ranting to a friend about how bad this one is and he accurately pointed out the opportunity cost to finishing crappy books. How many pages can you read about clueless, rich Englishmen and a somewhat-less-clueless but equally irritating butler? Apparently, my limit was about 150 pages – about 140 pages too many. No more PG Wodehouse for me.

The Testament by John Grisham - I have to admit I’m not a John Grisham fan, but I needed something to read on an airplane and had heard this was one of his better books. I liked maybe the first 50 pages, but after that, the story is predictable and the characters seemed caricature-ish.

The Camel Club by David Baldacci - It’s too bad that Baldacci seems to be suffering the fate of many authors who’ve published several books. The early ones were really good, but the later ones are predictable and far less interesting, including this one.

The Bookwoman's Last Fling by John Dunning - I really enjoyed his first 3 “Cliff Janeway” (main character) books (Booked to Die, Bookman’s Wake, & The Sign of the Book). They had interesting plots revolving around the world of collectible books. The subsequent 2 “Janeway” books were mundane and predictable, this last one being the worst.

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