Monday, June 29, 2009

The Wife Stole My Book

As you can see in the sidebar, I am reading Unwind by Neal Shusterman. Well, I was reading Unwind by Neal Shusterman. I was about 100 pages in and had it bookmarked with an actual, you know, bookmark, when I came home from golfing the other day to see The Wife (henceforth dubbed "The Book Thief") on the back deck reading my book.

Not cool.

We have many books in our house. I have stacks and stacks of books on the floor next to my side of the bed. I have read them. The Book Thief has not. She could have chosen any of these books. She could have waited until I finished the book. I'm a slow reader, but it is summer vacation. I usually finish the things in two or three days.

So now I have to wait until she's done reading the book before I can go back to it because there's no way I'm sharing the book. (I could explain why, but the reasons should be self-evident.) Thankfully, she reads faster than me.

Lessons:

1. Don't allow wives with a penchant for stealing books to see what you're reading. Read in secret. Perhaps in an underground bunker with surprisingly good lighting.
2. Read books that do not appeal to wives. Hemingway maybe. Or Nabokov.
3. Don't golf while the wife is in a position to steal the book you are reading.
4. Marry an illiterate.

So while she's finishing Unwind (which I was really enjoying BTW), I have started Getting the Girl by Markus Zusak. 100 pages in. It's okay. Not as good as I Am the Messenger, which I finished before picking up Unwind at the bookstore.

Let's talk a little about I Am the Messenger, shall we?

Ben Esch mentioned the book in one of his interview answers and I'd been meaning to read Zusak for some time. (I checked out The Book Thief from the library during the school year, but I have a hard time getting through thick books while school is in session, so I didn't read much of it. But I will. Scout's honor.) I concur with Ben's assessment of Messenger. Great book. Loved the voice. Loved the pace. Loved the characters. Loved the idea. Even liked the message.

But dear God, what the hell happened at the end? I won't give it away. To do so might lead you to forego the reading of the book and I want you to read it if only to experience the bewilderment and anger I felt during the last five pages. What I believe happened is that Zusak had a great idea and a really good message that he wanted to get across and he came up with a kind of cool way to deliver that message, but after writing nearly all of the book he realized he had a problem in that he couldn't really answer one very important question the main character (and readers) had. But he had to provide some answer and so he did. And it is awful. No other way around it. At worst it's a cop out. At best it's a writer being too cute for his own good.

Anyway, it didn't ruin the book, but man, did it hurt it.

Lesson:

Make sure your ending doesn't suck.

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Weight loss update: Down 5

10 comments:

Anita said...

I've stolen my husband's shirts, jackets and boxer shorts. Also, his gum and candy. He once borrowed a book I was 95% finished with, took it to a foreign country for a week, and never read a page.

DebraLSchubert said...

I'd also add to make sure the beginning and middle don't suck either. But, you're right. A lot of books rock most of the way through and then totally disappoint at the end. Knowing how hard it is to get published these days, I have one question. How the hell does this ever happen???

Big Plain V said...

I ended my book with what I thought was a really cute joke and then my agent made me change it. Apparently cutesy endings generally fall into the 'sucky' category.

Tracy Edward Wymer said...

Wow, a lot of suckiness going on. This girl in my class is family friends of NS. He lives in the area so the girl brought in all these books signed by him. Still have not read his stuff but am meaning to. Also, I'm planning on reading Book Thief over our European Vacation, can't wait for both of those things to happen.

Endings: Hmmmm. That's unfortunate. Wonder if authors struggle and struggle until their deadline approaches and then they have to get something down on paper, which turns out to be sucky.

Tess said...

You 'll love The Book Thief. It is sooo worth it. Even my non-book-stealing-not-a-huge-reader-hubby loved it. It's dark and moving and beautifully written. Ok, so I know you'll read it and quit hounding you about how you should really take the time to read that book. Really.

I won't go on and on about how it is WAY better than any of his other books or how you should have a box of tissues with you,

no, I won't.

Big Plain V said...

The voice of opposition: I couldn't get through The Book Thief. Yes, it was unique and beautiful in a strangely dark way, but it moved way too slow for me.

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too slow.

Jessica Leader said...

Ha! Very funny (the stealing part, and the part about marrying an illiterate.) I'm not sure how I landed on your blog, but I enjoyed it -- fellow middle-school English teacher and writer that I am!

Monica said...

i married a man who will only read a book if it's been a movie first. That's quality literature.

Monica said...

oh and endings. I've read books like that, Tracy, where the ending feels like..."i'm so f'ing tired of writing this crap".

Lily Cate said...

On spouses, mine is really into nonfiction, so all of my YA and MG books are totally safe.
I do, however, sometimes swipe his books, but I read faster, so, phtttpbt.

On sucky endings- sometimes the premise is so good, the authors, editors and publishers all conspire against us and say, "It's a book about a squad of vampire mermaid cheerleaders who solve crimes in a time traveling El Camino- who's not going to love it?"
And they forget the ending part, because they only need you to like to begining, right? That's why you buy books, after all. Just for the beginings.
At least, that's my theory.