Before I get to the book I just finished, let’s talk about the one I read before it: The Goldfinch.
Ah, The Goldfinch.
I resisted it for so long. Too much hype. Too much talk. Some of it good, some of it bad. But all of it, simply too much.
There was no possible way this book could live up to my – or anyone’s – expectations with all the anticipation that came along with it.
And it didn’t. At least for me, it didn’t.
With the writer’s previous book, The Secret History, which I chose to read first just to be an “against the mold” kind of gal, I felt like I invested time and energy and lots of “what the…?” moments but was given a gift in the end. The gift of an intriguing, well-written story that captivated me – and lost me a few times along the way – with its narrative, its writing and its conclusion.
With The Goldfinch, I felt like I invested a lot of time and energy and “what the…?” moments and in the end, I felt like I didn’t get much from it at all. Maybe it took me too long to burrow through it. Maybe it was all the talk, though I tried to ignore most of it going in. Maybe The Secret History was that much better.
And hey, maybe you will think – or did think – the opposite. Because a lot of people did.
Which brings me to the next read I checked off my list: The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan. This story became an “instant New York Times best-seller” largely in part to its origins: the young, esteemed writer passed away suddenly in a car crash in her early 20s and her family, mentors and writing teachers pulled together a collection of her fictional and non-fictional short stories into this posthumous collection.
Some of them are good, some of them are great. Some of them are just so-so. Of course you feel terrible saying that when you know the tragic ending behind the stories, but the reality is that some of them are good, some are great and some are so-so.
Do I suspect Ms. Keegan would have grown to have an incredible career as a writer? Absolutely. Was she a better writer than I will probably ever be? Yes. Should you run out and pick up this book? Maybe.
It won’t change your life, necessarily, but it changed hers and her loved ones’ lives with considerable measure, I am sure.
So perhaps that’s the best ending anyone could ask for?
Next up: Brain on Fire. I have had this one on my list for a long time and I am really hoping for a read that is going to rock my world. Hoping this is it. Will report back.
As always, please leave your favorite reads of the moment in the comments so I can add them to my list. And you can always see the ones I have on my radar on my Pinterest “books to read” board here.
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