AJAX BELL

Author of the Queen City Boys books

In which I read, so you don’t have too.

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I feel like in any given week I vacillate between trying to finish all the half-watched series in my Netflix queue and to finish all the books, well, just all the books.  This week it’s books.  I spent all of Sunday finishing Justin Cronin’s The Passage.  Multiple fails on my part here.  I didn’t (as is my tendency) research the book at all.  So it’s probably safe to say that if I’d known it was the first in a trilogy and I ‘d known it was 800 pages long going in (it’s always hard to tell on a Kindle which is something they really should fix) I might have felt differently about the book.  But honestly it would have benefited from an editor able to make it 200 pages shorter.  But it wasn’t just my not knowing.  The author failed as well, I think.  The first 250 or so pages were amazing, excellent, well written and engaging.  And then I spent the rest of the book waiting for it to get good again.  Not only did it not get good again, it didn’t end (the trilogy thing).  Incredibly frustrating.  And I was perhaps so disappointed in the decline of the story as it went along that I doubt I’ll bother with the next 800 page bit he puts out, trilogy or no, I just don’t care enough now to even find out what happens.  Cronin’s writing is engaging enough that you keep turning pages, assuming the good part is just around the corner, but it never was.  And the characters in the second part of the book are flat and flaccid, not vibrant like those in the beginning.   For some satisfaction after I finished reading, I went and read a bunch of Amazon reviews and many folks felt the same way I did: starts strong, winds away into nothing.  And I kept pushing through in hopes of it improving, of some of the new characters turning out to be likable, but alas.  Fortunately I think I needed a restful day and now I’m done so I won’t waste any more days on that book and  can start a new one from the dozens in the ‘waiting to be read’ pile.  Or I guess that should read waiting to be read “pile,” since it’s all on my Kindle and not actually in a pile like we used to keep books in the olden days.

Yesterday I had a 45 minute wait in the doctor’s office I spent much of it with my eyes closed trying to remember the best parts of The Passage all that came to me was fleeting images of Colorado autumn, or what the walk to the Zoo in Memphis is like, or glasses of tea on hot summer, water beading on the sides.  So I’ll grant Mr. Cronin that he does an excellent job places descriptions and has a way with words, but now, a few days later, none of the characters have stuck with me at all.

After reading up on The Passage I fell down the Amazon rabbit hole and started reading customer reviews of the book I intend to read next.  Which is either brilliant and amazing, or dumb, confusing and derivative. So now do I want to read it so I can feel superior to the people who didn’t get that it was brilliant, or will I read it and wonder why I wasted my time? And this, my friends, is why I always go into book blind, or with a few words of rec from friend and not much more.

Because I’ve been sewing so many utilitarian, solid colored skirts I haven’t been posting pictures.  I mean you saw the one, right? The other look the same but better.  Basic staples.  I don’t need to show you pictures, in the same way I don’t give you the recipe when I make mashed potatoes.  Still I am doing stuff so here’s a quick shot of what’s currently half done on the sewing table:

Only the bodice is actually done, the ‘skirt’ here is just folded fabric.  It will be a kimono sleeve, empire waist summer dress when it’s done.  But look how pretty, the fabric!!  Wheee!

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