2008 Year In Review ~ Unfinished Business

When all is said and done I think I will have read about 90 books this year, and of those 90, I have finished them all save two.

Both were book club books.  One was not of my choosing, but the other I picked.  They are North River by Pete Hammill and Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas, respectively.

What went wrong?

With North River, some of it may have been my own prejudice against the book.  I just didn't think it was a book club book (meaning that I didn't think it was discussion worthy), I thought it was more of a beach read or one of those books you read when you need a break from other stuff. I was surprised that a friend of mine considered it "literary".  The discussion, as I suspected, didn't really yield much.  I still have it and might try flipping through at another point to see if my opinion is altered now that I'm not reading it with a predetermined purpose in mind.  He's supposed to be good and I saw from some reviews that North River isn't consider to be his best work. What's interesting is that Pete Hammill was mentioned in another book I reviewed, The Bookmaker, by Michael J. Agovino.  I liked that one.

I still don't know what happened with Man Gone Down.  It was beautifully written but I just couldn't connect with the main character or any of the other characters for that matter, and it was stream of consciousness on top of that.  I needed something to hold onto and I just couldn't find it.  None of my book club knew what to think about it either.  I think we just sat and asked each other questions or if we got certain parts and none of us could answer.  Granted, I hadn't read the whole thing, but the others had and it hadn't seemed to help them much.  I remember liking the goldfish, but I usually like animals in books and movies, even fish.  I think his name was Mr. Strawberry.  The main character was really all over the place.  Books that are well-written, but that I don't like, usually make me curious about what I would think about reading something else the author has written (what a mouthful that was!). I'm waiting to see what else he's got.


I would try and do a year in review post, but it would be too long and
I am just not that disciplined, so I will be breaking these up over the last days of 2008.

Care to join me? What unfinished business do you have for 2008?

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  1. I can really relate to what you said about Man Gone Down. There have been books that are well-written, fairly interesting…and I just can’t get into them. I reviewed The Whiskey Rebels earlier this year, and although there was nothing wrong with it and many other people loved it, I just couldn’t keep reading.

  2. The Whiskey Rebels looked interesting to me too and I see that many enjoyed it. Something about it made me pass. I think I worried that I wouldn’t be able to get into it, or it wouldn’t hold my attention.

  3. I have quite a few books I need to finish up. A big one is Anna Karenina. I’m in the middle but it’s just not gripping me. I need to finish it though

  4. I acquired North River recently through Bookmooch, let’s hope I get more out of it than you did. I am going to read his Snow in August first though for the Jewish lit challenge. I could not make myself read very far into The Organ Grinder and The Monkey, an ARC I accepted. I can’t write a review that’s complimentary, I have yet to get up the nerve to tell him I can’t write a review for him. Worse yet, the same author sent me an unasked for copy of his first book and it was about wife swapping! I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. lol And I am behind by a dozen ARC reviews due to illness. I need a dozen people to guest review for me I think.
    But it was a good year overall as my cataracts were removed and since June I have been back to reading my usual novel per day.