These are the books I have not read this month. No, allow me to correct myself: these are the books I have not been able to finish reading this month.
- Saving Fish From Drowning, by Amy Tan: This is the first Tan book I haven't liked, so it's not like I'm a total philistine. I just got bored with it, with the conceit that the narrator is dead, and the characters are having the adventure she planned. Yeah--yawn!--so what. Maybe I just didn't get into the adventures. Maybe I just didn't get into the narrator. Maybe I just thought the writing was sort of pedestrian. Whatever--it ended up under the bed.
- Running With Scissors, by Augusten Burroughs: I bought this book because it's getting so much play, how could I not? I mean, it was a New York Times Bestseller and now a Major Motion Picture. Okay, what else? "If you love Sedaris, you'll fold over laughing with [Scissors]." That should have been my tipoff; I don't find Sedaris particularly enthralling either. Maybe I'm just not into the evolution of fat boys who end up witty gay men, but--yawn!--so what. Another under-the-bed book.
- Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral, by Kris Radish: This one I got at Raley's. I wanted a novel to read, I was shopping for groceries, the book rack was there, and this one called to me. I thought the title was funny and the premise, that four women take the ashes of the fifth on a funeral trip, was kinda clever. But the writing...oh, the writing. I'm sorry, Kris Radish, but you have so overwritten this. You have got to stop with the litanies of three, and the repeated signal words, and the sentences that go on forever into the night and beyond....! Oh, sorry, that was me writing. Which is what made this book particularly disconcerting for me is that in it, I recognize my own tendencies to overblow my prose.