Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Great Read is Hard to Find

Hi, all!

I wasn't going to write today, but as always I couldn't stay away. I'll be leaving soon to go to the lake with my family, so I'm sitting here in my bathing suit and shorts with greasy hair - just to give you a visual. While you're visualizing, let it also be known that a few moments ago I realized that the shorts and the bathing suit combo give me a bit of a camel toe. So there's that.

I've been in a bit of a blogging funk lately. It's not you, it's me. I've been busy and preoccupied, and I'm sorry about that.

I've also been reading a lot of good books, which makes me want to write one. Not long ago I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't read any books that weren't like the type that I want to write, and I've kept my word to myself on that deal.

Recently I started The Secret Diary of A Call Girl, for instance, but I put it down around 100 pages in and most likely won't return to finish it. Frankly, it bored me. The writing isn't all that good or engaging, the protagonist is completely unlikeable in every way, and the shock value of hearing about sex with paunchy middle-aged married men for money wore off rather quickly. Sure, it was interesting to read about things that I'd honestly never pondered for more than a moment or two: Fisting. Double-penetration. Anal beads. Lesbian sex.

But the writing was so banal that even those titillating subjects got dull. Now that's bad!

Also in keeping with my promise I picked up a book that my favorite magazine, Entertainment Weekly, has been heavily pimping for some time now: One Day by David Nicholls. Now this - this - is the kind of novel that I want to write.

It's the story of a man and a woman, Dexter and Emma, who spend time together right after graduating from University in London and begin a life-long friendship. Every year on the same day, July 15th (my birthday!), the story finds them each in their lives and you get a snippet of what they've been up to and how they've been growing and progressing (or not, as the case may be). Some years they spend the day together, some years they don't, but the story nimbly weaves in and out of their lives and offers a wonderful and truthful glimpse of what it is like to age from early twenties to true adulthood.

The writing itself is gorgeous. Funny - so funny! Concise. Simple yet descriptive. Many times the narrative reminded me of watching a Woody Allen film, but even better. Nicholls easily switches between character viewpoints and before long you feel like you're in both of their heads. He never judges his characters, he just presents the facts for the reader to draw their own conclusions. There are moments of such poignancy that I found myself dog-earring corners as I read so that I could come back and look at them again later. If I were still a student, this is when I would have underlined a passage that spoke to me.

As you're reading you can easily picture everything that happens as if watching it on a movie screen. Perhaps that is why the book rights have already been purchased by a Hollywood studio and the movie is in the works.

As I read, I thought about who I would cast. For Emma I had Emily Blunt in mind the entire time.

For Dex, I kept picturing Bradley Cooper even though he isn't British and Dex was meant to have dark hair. I just think Brad sums up the whole "raffish, charming, good-looking" type perfectly.

So, if you're looking for a great read that goes by quickly and will make you think and laugh, check this one out.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with this quote from the book:

"And maybe that's what happens; you start out wanting to change the world through language, and end up thinking it's enough to tell a few good jokes."

Happy Hump Day!


Frank Irwin said...

Whenever I want great read that goes by quickly and will make you think and laugh, I just go here.

MJenks said...

I have Emily Blunt in my mind for...lots of things.

Also? Greasy hair? Camel toe? Bathing suit? *gasp and swoon*

Bev said...

THANKS, Frank! <3

Jenks, ha!! Whatever works for ya. ;)

Melissa said...

Aw Frank. ;)

Bev, you actually made me want to read this. I'll add it to my Amazon list.

And have a wonderful time at the lake!

middle child said...

Funny, but if I hate a book after 30 pages, I'd be done. But if I am not sure, I will go till 100 pages before I make my decision. One thing I would caution you about - Do consider ready out of your genre. An easy way to do that is thru the Reader's Digest condensed books. (Select editions). Gives you the flavor of different types of writers. Could be that you haven't come across a writer that writes the way you like, but about a different genre. Peace.

Stacie's Madness said...

i will add it to my list of all kinds of books I want to read...
I am struggling through a book right's not all the interesting, but unlike you, I have to finish it, there is something so unsettling to me to NOT finish a book I start. Even if it isn't that great.

Therefore I will steer clear of that hooker book

Nej said...

I was getting my hair done a week ago, and in the magazine I was reading was an ad for that book. I took a pic with my phone and emailed it to myself so I'd remember to look it up. Glad to hear that it's worth the read!!!! :-)

Mala said...

Sooooooo, can I borrow it?
Sounds fabulous.

Have a great day at the beach. I'll be car shopping. Jealous? ugh.

onebadmamajama said...

Thanks for the heads up! I LOVE to read and am constantly on the look out for new authors.

Oh and thankyouthankyouthankyou for the wonderful pic of Bradley;)

Bev said...

Melissa - You won't be disappointed! I wept... and I can't stop thinking about it!

Middle Child - Thanks! I do read lots of different genres, never fear, but at this point I've determined that there will be "fun" reads (i.e. Twilight, Charlaine Harris, etc.) and there will be "enlightening" reads. It's the enlightening reads that I need most right now in order to find my own way as a writer.

For me, it's kind of like the difference between eating a big piece of cake every day or eating balanced meals. ;) Doesn't mean I won't sometimes have the cake, but more often than not I want to be learning or feeling something from the books I read.

Stacie - Yes, do steer clear of it. I love "hooker book!" haha!!

Nej - You have excellent taste. I'm sure you will enjoy it! Please let me know when you've had a chance to read it.

Mala - hope you found a great new ride! And yes, of course you can borrow it!

OBMJ - Oh, the Bradley pic was my pleasure!! I enjoyed searching for it. Mmmmm.

Senorita said...

The problem with me is that I start books, but I never finish them. I was interested in The Diary of a Call Girl, but now not so much !

Enjoy the lake with your family and your cameltoe !

Mike129 said...

Sounds like a book I should add to my list. (Does it have pictures?)


Cary McNeal said...

Emily Blunt and.... Russell Brand?

Bev said...

Senorita - Yeah, don't bother! Read One Day instead.

Mike - Sadly, there are no pictures, but if you'd like I can draw a few for you. Stick figures ok?

Cary - Oooh, great suggestion! If they'd get him cleaned up enough, he would totally work.