Friday, August 1, 2014

Boring Books, Terrific Books

Several weeks ago, Thriller Guy was having a rather dispiriting week. He’d just had to read yet one more thriller that was perfectly ordinary, stuffed with every thriller trope in the genre, as if the author had gone through a checklist (kill the girlfriend, terrorist’s mother and father killed/raped by Americans, hero drinks too much, snappy comments between hero and sidekick, constant mention of women’s breasts, etc.) smashed it all together and published the result. It wasn’t that it was so bad, it was just so, well, ordinary. You’d be surprised how many books suffer from the same ordinariness. And publishers seem perfectly willing to publish them because, I’m only guessing here, many readers continue to buy them. So Thriller Guy said, enough is enough, TG needs to read something to get the bad taste of all the bad thrillers out of his head. So he picked up Donna Tartt’s, The Goldfinch, which had been highly praised by many people, critics, normal people, and TG’s wife and daughter. The first fifteen or so pages did not go well, probably because reading a “real” writer was an almost forgotten experience; it took a little work. There were so many words! But once into it, TG remembered why reading good writing is so much fun. So TG has a suggestion: put down the thriller, and pick up something with a little more heft. The Goldfinch is a good place to start, as is Tartt’s first novel, The Secret History if you haven’t read it.
            TG was shocked when 80% of the way through her novel, Tartt made a terrible miscalculation with the structure of her book. The fact that no one seems to have had the balls or whatever to stop her and tell her that she shouldn’t be doing what she did just reinforces TG’s contention that once a writer reaches certain rarefied heights he or she is no longer subject to the rules of good editing or, in Tartt’s case, good sense. Publishers and editors are afraid to upset their geniuses, and maybe at that level the same geniuses don’t have their friends or spouses read their books before they go off to the publisher. Too bad, because these folks end up looking, and more often sounding, stupid in many cases. TG will blog about this later. But first…
            …he’s going to take a couple of weeks off. Too many thrillers and too many blog entries are taking a toll on TG, so he’s going to give it a bit of a rest. He suggests that those of you who need a dose of sarcasm and ranting go to the archives and read some of the entries you may have missed. The archives can be accessed on the right.
            Also on the right, you will find The Appel Store, where you can download any number of novels and novelettes. These are by TG’s alter ego, Allen Appel. TG would be so pleased if he found that all of you, or even some of you who come here clicked over to Appel’s store and bought something to read. TG thanks those of you who have already done so, and welcomes those who will do so in the future. It goes for a good cause: buying the gin that fuels these pages.
            See you in a couple of weeks.

1 comment:

  1. Thrillers are my favorite reads, I see exactly what you mean though. Sometimes you get ones that seem like they just changed the names and the locations but the story is the same. I really have to try to and find ones that are out of the ordinary and it's not always easy. I got a good one now called In The Company of Wolves by James Larranaga, a great plot that isn't the norm and those are the ones I recommend to get out of the slump of everyday reads.