(with apologies to Monty Python). After years – decades really – of reading almost nothing but non-fiction, I’m dipping my toes into the waters of fiction again. Heck, the last time I read a novel was Dan Brown’s “The DaVinci Code” when it came out, followed closely by Thomas Harris’ “Hannibal.” A few years before that, I read “The Mists of Avalon” by Marion Zimmer Bradley – the first fiction work I’d read since high school!
It’s a bit of a mixed bag. I’ve enjoyed non-fiction for so long, it’s hard to get into made-up stuff again. I started reading Stephen King’s “Nightmares and Dreamscapes.” He was my first love, and I always thought his short stories were really his best work, but I’m not loving this one. Some stories are good, others just OK. But I see what it was that I loved about him in high school: his odd, psychological style of writing. It really reminds me of Poe.
I just slogged my way through Tony Hillerman’s “The Blessing Way” and Patricia Cornwell’s “Body Farm.” Meh. Hillerman’s constant changes in POV annoyed me more than anything, and I felt the ending was a little too “Scooby Doo,” when Leaphorn suddenly shows up (after being MIA for most of the book) and tells everyone how he solved the mystery. “Body Farm” was an OK read, interesting enough…but I don’t like the protagonist, Kay Scarpetta. She’s a little too “law-and-order” for this rebellious reader…and she’s a hypocrite as well (sleeping with a married man). It didn’t help that the book was dedicated to fundamentalist Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch.
Next, I have a stack of books waiting for me to crack open: “The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” by John Berendt, and “We Need to Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver, all of which have been made into movies (which I’ve seen and liked).
I hope I’ll enjoy them, but I just can’t seem to turn off my hyper-critical eye and just get into the story. I’m afraid some switch has been flipped inside me and I’ll never be able to enjoy a good tale again!