Sunday, June 09, 2013

Boring Lives Full of Mystery

So the books for the past two weeks have been mysteries. This is partly out of sheer laziness. Work has been insanely stressful, and the thought of anything mildly difficult makes my soul hurt. (I'm also rereading the Disc World series, so to fit in both, I have to go for easier.) This is partly because I've had them for years and have no good reason for not reading them.

What I've discovered is that I don't really like mysteries. Oh, I'm sure there are some that are quite good. Ones where you really care about the characters, where you are invested in figuring out the plot. Where you can't stop reading because you have to know what happened. These were not them. (I do like Jasper Fforde's series, which is more of a mystery. But it's also tied into literature and theory and it explains the annoying end of Jane Eyre, something that has always bothered me.)

Last week, I read The Cat Who Saw Stars, in which the main character gets hunches from his mustaches and whose cats somehow are psychic. Neither of which would really bother me, to be honest. I like quirk and vague hints of magic. I can't remember if this is one my mom gave to me or my grandma, but I think the only reason they did was because it features cats and one of the characters knits, which is not enough to hold me. My main problems were that the characters were flat and the plot wasn't cohesive. A guy dies at the beginning and we never really find out what happened to him, although the end hints that maybe the aliens made the sand eat him. Or at least that's how I'm reading it. (I'm also not kidding about the alien part.) Another murder takes place, but figuring out what happened on that one takes a backseat to a description of the main character's vacation. Which does sound lovely; I'd like a job where I can just peace out to my beach house for a month. But really. Who wants to read about what someone eats on their vacation for eighty pages of a short book?

This week's was Evanly Choirs, a book I know my mom gave me, mainly because it takes place in Wales and the Christmas I got back from Oxford, she gave me a bunch of books that took place in Wales solely because they took place in Wales (we'd spent time in Wales as a family before my term started, and X and I took a trip over there when he came to visit. I love Wales. It's wonderfully quirky, and everyone is taciturn, which I approve of). This was better than The Cat Who Saw Stars, but still not gripping. The main character was more fleshed out, but not by much, and the rest of the characters were pretty blank. The slutty barmaid, the pretty teacher, the cast of village folk who all blend together, the crazy competitive ministers. They all played into standard tropes, and that just bores me. The plot was more coherent, kind of, although it was like, "let's throw all these random people into a situation so that the readers won't see the twist coming!" rather than something more carefully planned.

Plus let's face it. Anything I'm reading while I'm also reading Pratchett is going to have a lot to live up to. Neither of these did that, but at least I can get rid of them and at least they distracted me momentarily from the madness that is work.


The Frizzy Hooker said...

That last paragraph - pure genius

Rebecca said...

Personally, I think ALL my paragraphs are genius... (thanks!)