I haven’t read a good book in a coon’s age, and I’m having withdrawal symptoms. Notice I said “good book.” Of course I’ve been reading, but everything I’ve read lately has been a bit bland. Over the Christmas holidays, my friend Carole brought me the newest Barbara Kingsolver book, The Lacuna, and I could hardly wait to start it.
About twenty pages in, I turned back to the cover to make sure it really said Barbara Kingsolver. This lady wrote Poisonwood Bible and Prodigal Summer, two of my favorite books of all time. I suspected a forgery. Sure enough though, I found her name and picture right there on the dust jacket, but it read like it was written by some lesser writer. I’m now 250 pages in, and I still don’t like it much. I keep reading because her other books are some of my favorites, but not this one. I hope she hasn’t followed the Stephen King tradition and farmed out her writing.
This book is making me doubt myself. I’m wondering if the problem is with me. Carole likes the book. Why don’t I? We almost always like the same books. Every night I read a few more pages, hoping that the book will get better with the next page, but it’s slow going because I fall asleep after a page or two. I’m dragging myself through it.
Rereading All the King’s Men with my Advanced Placement English class is much more exciting, even though I’ve read this book many times. The quality and richness of Robert Penn Warren’s famous book never fails to amaze me. I recommend it if you haven’t read it, maybe if you have. A classic that everyone could benefit from, it’s about politics back in the ’40s-not just about politics though, or I wouldn’t be such a fan of it myself. This author knows his politics though. His Willie Stark character, based on the real life politician Huey Long, perfectly reflects today’s politicians. Dirty, filthy, underhanded, sleazy-you get the picture. A love story and complex family relations raise the book out of the political mire and make it a novel that will haunt its readers for years to come. See for yourself.
I realize that a part of my problem is that most of my students that read avidly graduated last year. They are all off in Athens, Valdosta, Dahlonega, and Statesboro reading for their college professors. They used to bring me books. Now I only hear of their readings via Facebook or on those rare occasions when they come home to visit. I’m on my own, and it’s a cold place to be-a barren desert with only this boring Kingsolver book I’m dragging myself through. This book is demanding every iota of my willpower.
What I want at the moment is one of those page-turners that I can’t put down, that I’ll stay up all night for, knowing full well that I’ll pay dearly for it the next day. Something like Bradley’s Mists of Avalon or Follett’s Pillars of the Earth would be nice, but unfortunately I’ve read those. Mr. Stephen King has been known to frighten me enough to keep me awake many nights, so he would do in a pinch if he’s written anything worth reading lately.
I know I haven’t read all the good books out there yet. I need some help. Somebody please send me a good book. Take it by to Jamie at The News-Banner office or bring it to the high school. Goodness, bring it to my house. Just hurry. I’m desperate. I may start reading the phone book any minute.