Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Is It Too Early To Say This Is the Best Book I've Read This Year?

Well, I made it through the day. I managed to put three miles of treadmill under my feet - although not without some serious breathing and heart palpitations. Man, I used to be able to stop exercising for months and just pick up where I left off. What's with that, anyway? Anyway, I ran. I did my Tracy Anderson and discovered I could still touch my toes and do plies without great pain and injury. And I wrote. Not a ton, but enough.

Maybe I needed the break as much as my kids. It was the most productive day I've had in a while (laundry and cooking and party planning excluded).

So last night when I crawled in bed, my husband asked, "Are you reading long tonight?" I don't know why he asks this every night, because I always miscalculate how long I'm going to read. I mean, occasionally I'm nearing the last 100 pages and I know I won't be able to put it down and I say that, but usually, I don't intend on reading long. It just happens.

But last night I was starting a new book - The Time Traveler's Wife - and it almost always takes a night or two of reading a new book to get the the obsessively-I-can't-turn-out-the-light phase. And this wasn't one of my YA or thriller books. It's literary fiction. So I said probably only 20 minutes. Unless I don't like it and fall asleep in the first few pages.

Don't get me wrong. I love literary fiction. It's just not the kind of thing that keeps me up nights. And this one - well it was put on a list of 100 books you have to read before you die - right along with Shakespeare and Moby Dick and the Bible. I figured it was blown a little out of proportion, considering it was published in 2003.

But I was wrong. Well, I haven't finished it yet, so I can't speak to the total package, but Wow! I spent a lot more time than 20 minutes. I read until I could barely keep my eyes open, thinking, I have to get up tomorrow. Spring break is over! And the other part of my brain said, Just one more section!

What I find fascinating is how unique a story it is - not just the plot but the entire way it's written. And I wonder if the author was thinking the entire time: This goes against everything written about how a book should be written. I am going to be shot down all over the place. . Or was she thinking, "This is brilliant! It's completely unlike anything out there! It's going to be a bestseller!" I'm hoping it was a bit of both. Does an author really know what rules it's okay to break, and if they are doing it well enough for no one to care? I'd like to think I'm not the only one. Not that my writing is like this or anything.

And what I'd do to see that query letter! You think you are having a hard time getting your characters and plot summed up in a paragraph? This book blows my mind. I have no idea how you can get the amazing complicated plot and the depth of characters across in a query.

But then, maybe she just sent the first chapter with the query. Yup. That would do it.


  1. That seems like a very interesting book to read based on your post. Will definitely have to go and get myself a copy. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. It's a great book. I totally loved it. I think it's coming out as a movie sometimes this year. The author also just sold her second book for an exorbitant amount of money.

    You'll need to comment when you've read the whole thing. I'd love to see what you think of the ending.

  3. Oh I know what you mean! I read it two summers ago and it blew my mind. I had all the same thoughts you did- how did she keep track of all the time changes??? Their ages, what they were doing when, and the fact that Henry doubles back on himself several times... it's unreal. And the query...!?!

    I admit I had a couple of irritations with the book but that doesn't take away from its brilliance.

    Be prepared to weep, is all I'm gonna say.

    And also, go to bed real early so you have time to read!

  4. Patti - I heard 5 million dollars! I think that must be a compensation for a less huge advance on this book, because I can't imagine another will be anywhere near as creative and unique. Not that she isn't a great writer, but what makes this so amazing is the concept of it.

    I guess we'll see. Maybe they've seen her next book and it really is that great!

    I've refused to allow myself to take the book out of my room, or I'd do nothing all day but read. I see little hints of what's to come, but it's hard to tell if they are there on purpose to foreshadow, or are just part of the book.

    It's a good thing I've got a box of kleenex on my nightstand too. I'm a weepy reader! :)

  5. I loved this book too, especially for the unique way in which it is written. I was convinced that there would be some slip up in the mechanics of it - like some time travel piece out of order. But not one that I could find.

    Really glad that you are enjoying it.

  6. Soapbox - I thought the time travel thing was done seamlessly! I took a bit to get into the groove of how it was written, but once I did it made a lot of sense.

    So I know you? Your life bears a striking resemblance to a good friend of mine, but that eye of yours (from your profile) doesn't look familiar. :)

  7. yes... It is definitely me Heidi. And yes, that is my eye - went as Medusa for Halloween in 2007 and so there's a lot of makeup on that eye. It's not often I get to comment on books that you have read - so when I saw that we had one in common, I had to say so!

  8. Yay! So good to see you here! Truly? We don't read the same books??? I always think of you as a kindred spirit in books.

    I still can't see you in that eye. But I love the costume!