Sometimes, stumbling upon a book while at the library is a blessing and sometimes it’s a mistake. This next book falls under the latter category. I gave Can’t and Won’t by Lydia Davis a shot because I usually enjoy short story collections, but I couldn’t find a single story I liked. Most of the pieces were short, about a paragraph, but the longest two clocked in around 20-30 pages. This collection was inane and I wouldn’t have finished it if I weren’t determined to reach my 35 book goal this year. I particularly suffered while reading the story about cows, in which a narrator comments periodically about three cows in their yard over the course of a year. I can’t and won’t be recommending this book to anyone.
I love browsing Goodreads giveaways and this next book is the first time I ever won. The Other Shakespeare by Lea Rachel had an interesting premise. The novel explores what would have happened if Shakespeare had been born a woman, focusing on Judith, fictional sister to William. In this scenario, Judith is the one with talent and a passion for theatre instead of her brother. I was intrigued by the premise of this book, but it was disappointing. The dialogue was awkward. It was too modern, but words like “anon” were dropped in to sound older. I was also distracted by the depiction of 16th century England. I kept checking whether things were factually accurate or period appropriate.
I hope you will be glad to hear that I loved my 9th book of 2015. One More Thing by BJ Novak was also a book I happened to see at the library and since I recognized him from The Office, I borrowed it. This book grabbed me right away. It has a snarky, smart, sometimes awkward sense of humor, but still feels very sensitive and human. I loved how unexpected his stories were. Novak was always able to surprise me and take the narratives in an interesting direction. In particular, I loved “Sophia” and “The Comedy Central Roast of Nelson Mandela.” I can’t recommend this anthology enough.