Sunday, July 15, 2007

Fluff books

There's quite a few books I haven't blogged about that I probably won't. I re-read "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," but didn't bother to write about it. Like you really want my latest theories on Snape. I also re-read "The Time Traveler's Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger a few weeks ago, but debated about whether or not to write something on it. It made quite a splash when it was first published and I read it when it was in its height of popularity. Someone lent the book to Mike and I read it again, reliving the beauty of the story. But I decided to skip that book and maybe come back to it later. For now, I'd like to talk about fluff. Books that bear no weight on your mind and are easily forgotten. This is my problem: I go to the library and assume I can find something to read just by pulling random books off of shelves and reading the blurb on the inside front cover. Wrong. You cannot find good books by doing this, but you can find lots of junk and fluff. Junk books are ones that you wish you had never read or even bothered to check out, whereas fluff books aren't bad, just not great. They aren't well-written and they don't impact your life in anyway and, usually, you can't even remember that you read it a month later. What makes me sad is that someone wrote this fluff book and spent countless hours dreaming it up, maybe even quitting a job to fulfill their life-long dream of writing. Then I read it and think, "That was a waste of time." I've read so much fluff in my lifetime that I can't even remember most of the titles or authors. They lack the ability to register in my memory. The most recent one was "Thicker Than Water" by Rett MacPherson. The blurb said it was a mystery that took place in Missouri and was about a genealogist. Okay, so two subjects you don't often see in a mystery. Not only did the title have nothing to do with the book, but it was also the fifth or sixth book about the main character. I hate picking up books mid-series! Arg! Arg, I say! I read it anyway. I'm like a bad chocoholic, one who eats really stale candy at the bank teller's desk because it's there and hates themselves later for it. The characters were flat and annoying, the mystery was dumb, and the worst part is that the author had obviously done this before. Again, it wasn't really bad (despite my strong adjectives in the previous sentence), just not great. And I read this right after I finished "The Joy Luck Club" by Amy Tan, which is a great book. I highly recommend that one, by the way. So it was like eating stale, nasty bank candy after having just eaten chocolate mint truffles from Ghiradelli's. The juxtaposition probably made the MacPherson book taste even worse.

Something cool my library has online is a "book bag" option in my account. I can find books and reserve them in my book bag for future requests. I don't have to reserve them right then, I can do it later. Taking advantage of that option, I filled it up with books that from Orson Scott Card's reading list for the class he taught at Southern Virginia University. My project for another evening is to fill it with books from "Honey for a Woman's Heart" which I blogged about here. Now, when I need a book fix, I can go online and look through my book bag for what I know I want to read and either request it or go pick it off the shelf. No more fluff or junk for me, no siree! Or at least until I run out of books in my book bag and need a fix.

Sunday, July 8, 2007


While reading the blog of one of my favorite writers, he claimed to have found the next Harry Potter series in the making. Well, that sparked my interest, being an avid Harry fan. "Fablehaven" by Brandon Mull is pretty darn good. I was doubtful at the beginning since the plot seemed transparent. Of course the grandfather gives lots of warnings that the kids don't listen to. Of course they find out that it's really a preserve for magical creatures. But that is where it got good. My expectations were dashed. I honestly didn't know what was going to happen next and that's what reeled me in. I hope that this series ends up like Harry Potter where the first books are fairly innocent, relating to the innocence of its characters, but the later books develop into riveting epic clashes between good and evil. I put the second book on the waiting list at the library and I keep checking every day to see if I've moved up on the list. That, my friends, is a good book.