Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Sampler

The Sunday Sampler

I've decided to start a new post that I hope will appear at least monthly.  Sunday Sampler will be a chance to highlight some of the books I receive for possible reviews or that I pick up in bookstores or off library shelves that for one reason or another just don't make it to the finish line.

Sometimes  a book doesn't live up to it's cover or publisher's blurb.  Sometimes, the writing doesn't pull me in, sometimes the subject matter just isn't well done enough, or I can't figure out the plot.  These aren't necessarily bad books, and to another reader they might even be a great book, but for now they've fallen off my TBR mountain and landed in the DNF pile.

One of my biggest disappointments was Jean Auel's Land of the Painted Caves.  I'd read all the previous ones in the series, but found I didn't remember the last two very well.  In fact, I realized that part of the problem was that I hadn't liked the last two nearly as much as I liked the first three.  I confess, I merely leafed through this 768 page chunkster, sighing as I tried to find something that would grab me back into the story line.  I had  a  staff member at our library who was dying to read this (she had just finished all of the previous ones in the last 6 months) and she came back two weeks later saying..."I was so disappointed.  There's nothing new in here, and most of the first 300-400 pages is simply a re-hash of what was in the other books."  It's been so long since the previous ones were published that all enthusiasm I had is gone.  Maybe someday............

Another deeply disappointing book was one I almost bought, but decided to check it out of the library first to see if I needed the print version or if an ebook would do. Everyone knows I'm a real fan of Donna Leon's series "The Commissario Brunetti mysteries" so when I saw that there was a companion piece Brunetti's Venice with maps and descriptions of the city and all the places Brunetti walks and visits, I thought "AHA-I'd love to have that."  After strolling along with Brunetti through the first 45 pages, my only reaction is "Meah" If it had color maps, it might be alright, but I found the physical layout, font, and illustrations less than inspiring.  Glad I didn't buy it.  I suspect a good current tourist guide would be much more helpful.

I enjoy a good biography, and as a lady who grew up in Emily Post's home town of Baltimore, and whose life was quite proscribed by the Emily Post book "Etiquette in Society" I looked forward to this one.  Like many biographies, Emily Post: Daughter of the Gilded Age, Mistress of American Manners
is lavishly slathered with every possible detail the biographer could find.  Huge, slow to get going, I've put it aside and will attack it again later.  Right now, I seem to have no patience for the details of her husband's business deals.


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