I've been thinking about this since I read one of Charlie's latest blog posts about the books he's reading and the books he's read. He reviewed five books, and I had not a clue about any of them. Do we shop at different bookstores? Look at different websites? What makes something catch one person's eye and not another? What makes one person love a book and another loathe it?
A couple years ago, Regis and I saw a review for a new Larry McMurtry book called Sin Killer. We are both big fans of Lonesome Dove so we ordered Sin Killer and waited anxiously for it to arrive. I started it first and never finished it. The only thing that book was good for was laughs. I would read some of the outrageous dialogue aloud at the lunch table at work. People would guffaw. It was ridiculous. Here's one review from Amazon that sums it up:
This silly book could not possibly have been written by the genius of Lonesome Dove, so Larry McMurtry must be dead or missing in the wilderness, perhaps stuffed inside some frozen dead buffalo on the prairie in a blizzard , trapped by the frozen hide. Or hiding, maybe. I read the first book, hoping it would Start at some point and Go somewhere, but it never did. This is the silliest, dumbest, most surreal book purporting to be about something actual, that I've ever read and contains some of the most annoying, egregious, and insulting characters ever created. This book must be a spoof on spoofs of the J. F. Cooper genre, is all I can conclude. I will not bother reading the rest of this "series," it is irredeemable! Mr. Larry McMurtry must be found---No Author Left Behind!
I like that reference to NCLB, too! So, thinking this has to be the dumbest book ever written and Larry McMurtry must be hanging his head (all the way to the bank) for publishing it, I checked out other reviews. There were people who loved this book, people who thought it was the best book he's ever written, people who had already pre-ordered the next four books in the saga. Gads. Check it out at the library (Just read a few pages...don't actually check it out and take it home because this is a book, like Monica Lewinsky's autobiography, that you don't want to have in the car with you if you should have a heart attack and have to go the hospital. The EMTs would see it on the seat of the car and would tell rude stories about you later at the bar.) and see if I'm not right. Ridiculous characters, ludicrous dialogue, stupid plot line. It has everything.
I'm not inclined to pick up science fiction, crime, or fantasy. Regis likes to read about natural disasters (and the more disastrous, the better...earthquakes, volcanoes, leprosy, floods) but I like books about personal disasters...death, divorce, addiction, and all other modes of individual dysfunction. I can deal with it on a smaller scale but I don't like to know about the large-scale catastrophe lurking in the future.
There you go. There's something for everybody. I trust Charlie's taste, though. I think we've both read the story of ferret legging.