Annoyances and aberrations! Bah! As we all know, life does not always cooperate with what we want. I, for one, would like to turn out a book review every month. Hmm...while I'm at it, I'd also like to finish my book edits, drop The Veil of a Warrior on a publisher's desk to be snagged up, run out the door and sell millions of copies, pay off my mortgage with the massive advance and have oodles of spare money and time.
But, uh, getting back to reality (NOOOOO!), my reviews are lacking. I've been trying, but my luck in choosing has been out to lunch.
I have in my hands two books that I thought were surefire gold: Vampire Empire by Clay and Susan Griffith and The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi.
On a side note: Just prior to these I read and finished Ben Bova's The Craft of Writing Science Fiction that Sells. While a good read, and one that I may review one day, I think I need to go through it again to figure out what I learned and why. (And that's just hard work.)
I won't blame Bova for my brain working in slow-mo, but I may turn a half-raised eye upon the other two.
When I read a book—now that I've taken the Path of the Writer—I earnestly try and figure out what I like and don't like about each and every book. Each book becomes a learning experience.
Not a total learning experience—I do want to ENJOY my books still.
But I try, and writing the review at the end helps. However, instead of being easier to review a book I can't finish, I think it becomes harder. Case in point: I'm looking at these two books and wondering what I might learn from finishing them—if I can—and I'm wondering how I can even approach writing a solid review.
I have reason to cringe. When I read and reviewed The Ninth Avatar by Todd Newton, it was one of those trying times we all try to avoid. As a fellow writer, the last thing I wanted to do was call out Newton's hard work as something I could not enjoy. As a learning writer, I wanted desperately to figure out what didn't work for me and why.
And it was work. Real nail-biting, tough-to-swallow work. I'm just not interested in shredding someone's pride and joy, so I put forth an honest critique that delves as deep as I can manage.
I have some initial thoughts to share on why both The Windup Girl and Vampire Empire fail to grab me, check back tomorrow to see if you agree.
...or if you disagree: bring your pitchforks, clubs, and flame war rhetoric.