Now that I am the proud new owner of a Kindle, I am busy loading it up with books.
Generally, I am drawn to the literature genres known as Trash and Crap.
I like a little romance, knowing that it will end with happily ever after. I love mysteries, but nothing too gory. I shy away from anything that’ll make me sad or books that feel too much like Quality Literature.
Also – and get ready, this could change everything about our relationship – I hate animal stories. Especially if they are labeled as “heartwarming.”
Heartwarming = Gag
I have been known to go to the bookstore, settle in the coffee shop with a stack of celebrity biographies – Martha Stewart, Tori Spelling, and even (heaven help me) Kendra Wilkinson – and greedily gobble up the highlights; I am definitely not an elitist, but I can’t bring myself to pay money for swill.
Yummy, illicit, swill.
So I don’t usually have a lot to add to book conversations, lest I reveal the true shallowness of my preferences. The delicious, nutrient-free, candy-coated shallowness.
I have, on occasion, inadvertantly read more Important Books. Books that are sometimes thick and called novels. Here is what the word novel means to me: there is no happily ever after, and there is no murderer handed to the reader on a silver platter. Instead the story seems to stop when the author reaches his word limit.
Okay, not really. But you have to admit, novels rarely have a neat tidy ending. I am usually left thinking, “wait – what? that’s it? what happens next?” and feeling vaguely dissatisfied.
Here are a few of the real books that have stuck with me over the years:
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. About a girl who discovers she can literally taste the emotions of the person who prepares her food. Interesting premise, and I didn’t mind the odd writing style (there are no quotation marks in the whole book); but the ending left me going “wait – that’s it? I still don’t understand the chair…” Nevertheless, I quite liked it. It was lovely and weird.
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. Disturbing and brilliantly written in the form of letters from Kevin’s mother, Eva, to her husband. Kevin is in prison for killing his classmates in a Columbine-esque spree. The letters recount the entire story of the family as Eva tries to understand what went wrong. The ending is a complete surprise and absolutely shocking – as well as unrelated to the school shooting I was steeling myself for from the beginning. Haunting. I read it years ago and sometimes think of it even now.
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. The story of Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney, the woman he left his family for (and she left hers for him). Firstly, I was completely unaware that that Frank Lloyd Wright was a cheating bastard, and could not believe Mamah abandoned her young children to be with him. It was the end of the story, though, that kept me up until 3 in the morning, sobbing. I was not expecting such a shocking and horrifying ending. The book was sad all along, but the ending! I was heartbroken for days.
Ok – now you. What should I add to my Kindle? Bear in mind my affection for trash, so no pushing the classics at me, okay?
(oh, and no vampires! good grief, will all the vampires please DIE already? gah.)