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Tuesday, April 16, 2002

When I read the last hundred pages of a book in one sitting, it's usually because the story is compelling or the characters are engaging or the mystery is unraveling. It isn't usually because I just want to get it over and done with. That's why I spent so much of the afternoon finishing The Summons, by John Grisham, though. I wanted to move on to something else.

I used to like Grisham, but I didn't really like this book. There wasn't a single sympathetic major character in it, and the central mystery was only marginally interesting. I've got to have one or the other, in a novel or a movie. If this book weren't only 245 pages, I'd never have bothered to finish it at all. It's probably much better than I'm saying, but definitely not to my taste.

The most disappointing part was how mechanical it all seemed. I'm not sure I know how to describe it. It was cold and metallic, instead of warm and organic. I think my own writing is like that too, except when I get in one of my weepy moods, but I expect something more of a writer with millions of readers. I hope the rest of them are getting their money's worth.

So I read and read until I got to the ending, which was as flat as the rest of the book, and then I had to decide what to read next. I didn't want to move on to another legal thriller, that's the one thing I decided. I ended up with another Maeve Binchy novel, Echoes.

I knew all I needed to know without having read a word, just from having read Binchy before. This would be more mentally and emotionally involving than the Grisham book I'd just finished. By the time I read ten pages I already felt more empathy for about five different characters than I had for anyone in the Grisham book.

I almost never read political novels, spy novels, techno-thrillers, or any books where the concept is more memorable than the people. It's the same with movies. I'd much rather see an intimate indie flick than every Armageddon ever filmed. I like to feel that I'm inside the heads of people I might want to know in real life. Everything else is just the wrapping.

looking southeast

Yesterday's cloudy sky looks good today.

Just as I'm getting into a rhythm of working in the garden every afternoon, along comes a cold rain that keeps me indoors today. I wasn't expecting it, but that can happen when you stop watching the news. Nightline doesn't cover the weather.

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Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Tangled
"Some of what I walked through today was as high as my head."

Two years ago: Feather Canyons Everywhere
"Does it look to you as if the baby's doing most of the work here?"

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