In 2003 author Nick Hornby started writing a regular feature for The Believer called "Stuff I've Been Reading" where he wrote about the books he bought, what he actually read, and what he intended to read. It's a great little piece, and since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery we here at Cool-points.com are stealing the idea. Every month Gregory (or potential guest contributors) will list the books he bought vs the books he read and give you some slight insight into the mind of a crazy person.
-The People in the Trees-Hanya Yanagihara
-Funny Girl-Nick Hornby
-My Struggle: Book 1-Karl Ove Knausgard
-The Continental Op-Dashiel Hammett
-Johannes Cabal The Necromancer-Jonathan L. Howard
-The Weirdness-Jeremy P. Bushnell
-The Circle-Dave Eggers
-Everything is Illuminated-Jonathan Safran Foer
-Me Talk Pretty One Day-Dave Sedaris
-The Hot Kid-Elmore Leonard
-My Struggle: Book 1-Karl Ove Knausgard
For updates on what I'm reading in between columns you can be my friend over at Goodreads.com.
"First, this column is way over due." This is how I started last months column so of course I went and brought this one even later than last months. No real reason other than I just hadn't gotten to the point of writing it. March was a month of a good handful of bookstore trips but only three finished books.
The first group of books I purchased were on a random Friday morning when I went to breakfast and ended up in one of the local Pittsburgh stores Classic Lines. I try not to go into a store with something in mind but I knew that the Nick Hornby book was out sometime around that visit and was excited to find it. I would have been disappointed if it wasn't there but clearly would have gotten over it. The People in the Trees and My Struggle both jumped out on me and I thought about leaving at that time but had only been in the store a couple minutes. I came across The Continental Op and it put me in a tough spot because I had to pick up Dashiel Hammett because Dashiel Hammet, I mean I have a t-shirt of The Maltese Falcon, but I really didn't want to put any of the others back. I had no choice but to break my rule of three, for those keeping score at home that is every month of this column that I have broken that rule. Possibly time to quit pretending it is a rule.
Later that week while in one of the Amazing Book locations I decided that I needed to grab some lighter reading because most things I had bought were fairly heavy reading. This is how I ended up with Johannes Cabal, The Weirdness, and Annihilation. I had the Dave Eggers in my hands but decided that Eggers isn't light enough for my light bookstore trip. This would lead me back fairly quickly to pick it up.
The Dave Eggers trip happened on Easter after Easter dinner, I brought leftovers to a homeless gentleman I see pretty regularly, grabbed some froyo and stopped in because the cute bookseller I have a crush on was working. The owner was also in and we engaged in a conversation about our favorite Hugh Grant films, and discussed that Eggers's Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius was pretty uneven. I also picked up the Foer book, I loved the movie and enjoyed his Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close so it was an easy grab. The last book of the bunch was F, which I picked solely on the cover which was a pretty pink color. It helps that it is from Vintage which I've mentioned before is a favorite publisher of mine.
I started my March reading with Sedaris which I enjoyed but didn't love. I had read a couple of the stories of his, including two from here. It was pretty much what I expected it would be, enjoyable and easy. Which is of course how I try to be in my dating life(or more realistically my lack of one). I followed that up with The Hot Kid which was enjoyable but not as good as I expected, it was the first let down I've ever read from Elmore Leonard. From many other authors it would be a really good showing but I love Leonard so much that it was sad to read a long, uneven novel. Lastly I read My Struggle which was another one that was just okay. There were parts of My Struggle I absolutely loved but there would be big stretches I didn't care for in the middle of the stretches I did like. It doesn't help that Karl Ove as a character seems a little bit entitled and full of himself for three fourths of the novel. It did pull me in enough that I will read the next book in his long series.
On the longer of the two reading challenges I knocked of book at the bottom of my reading list with Sedaris, book by an author I love that I haven't read with Leonard and My Struggle although a fictionalized memoir works as my based a true story since that phrase is used quite liberally.