Saturday, July 16, 2011

Reading Elimination Tournament – Round 1: The Next 4 Books

DSC_0069Sometimes a book can be eliminated by something such as a boring cover design, or in the case of one of these books, a layout that is difficult to read.  This might be because of the use of tiny print, such as when a publisher decides to print a large book, but still wants to keep the paper and print costs low.  All elements of publishing a book need to be carefully considered during the process.  A poor cover can lead to lost sales, no matter how brilliant the words behind the cover may be.

elsewhere – Gabrielle Zevon (2005)

The first 4 pages are told from the POV of Lucy, a dog, and it is an interesting narrative voice. Page 5 introduces us to Liz Hall, the presumed protagonist of the book, in a strange place. The back cover promises an interesting story by using a letter Liz wrote to one of her professors. Here is the first line of that letter:  “By now, you have probably heard that I’m dead.” That is the way to hook a reader in to keep his/her interest.  This one was an easy decision: on to the next round.

100 Years of Solitude – Gabriela Garcia Marquez (1992)

A book by a Nobel Prize winning writer and selection from Oprah's book club which is of course very high praise and credentials. It starts off with a vivid description as well as an interesting situation with the character obsessed with science and discoveries. It is intriguing and maybe I will give it a few more pages, but am not sure where this book is going. I'll put it in the maybe pile, leaning towards eliminating it.  I think it has not been eliminated for certain because I feel very conflicted about dumping a book from a Noble Prize winning author this early in the reading.  I’ll have to see on this one.  In the Maybe pile for now…

Black Water – Joyce Carol Oates (1992)

This is a short book using short chapters with a style of narration that seems to start from the end of the story, and moves backwards from that point, telling us how we got to that end. This seems like a difficult story structure to attempt, and I’d like to see how it Oates does this. It could be an excellent books showcasing how the plot and structure of fiction works.

Even though there is little dialogue, the voice of this book hooks you in and hooks you in good. It was hard to put down even after reading the first five pages. This one goes to the next round.

Freezing – Penelope Evans (1997)

DSC_0072This book has a design flaw which is a strike against it.  The words are crammed together in a tight formation with little white space. The words are large enough,  but  I still don't like the crowed layout of the pages.

The back cover promises a conflict between real life and a computer online fantasy game, which is why I probably bought the book in the first place. There is little dialogue in the first five pages, and a lot of narrative introducing many characters quickly, but not allowing me to differentiate between any of them. Nothing here sticks with me or pushes me to continue reading. This one is eliminated.

Books Eliminated So Far (and available if you want them):
  • 21 – Jeremy Iversen (2005) 
  • Farm Fatale – Wendy Holden (2001)
  • Freezing -- Penelope Evans (1997)

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