Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I lent a friend of mine Case Histories, thinking she'd enjoy it. I wanted someone else I know to read it so we could talk about it. Like a mini-mini-book group. What happens? She hates it of course. The writing was bad. The stories were overly sentimental. The characters, awful. Except for Jackson she says. I know we're not all supposed to all like the same books. I'm sure there would be countless books she loves that I would discard without hesitation. It's just an odd, unsettling feeling to like a novel so much and to think someone else would get caught up in the crazy, sad stories, only to have them struggle through 100 pages before closing the cover for good. Two weeks ago I gave her the book. Now, I have it back. Unread. It looks lonesome on my record player, atop Shelby Foote's Civil War trilogoy. At least it's in good company now, surrounded by books loved by their reader. Snuggled amongst Ozick, Agee and Foote. You're home now.

7 comments:

Dorothy W. said...

How disappointing! That sort of thing can make me question my own judgment, although I shouldn't. It's just so personal.

Atkinson is definitely on my to-be-read list. Have you read others of hers? What do you think is her best?

Danielle said...

Well, if it makes you feel better--I quite enjoyed Case Histories and thought it was well done. I liked Jackson the best as well. I am always afraid to loan out books that I really love for that same reason--that the friend will hate it. Actually one of my very best friends has disliked just about every book that I loved that I have given her. I know they can't all be bad, so I put it down to just different tastes as she is a brainy person--just likes more easy-going sorts of reads. So I now try and tailor the books I give her, so that they are more to her taste, and it has worked out much better. But it is nice when you share a book with someone and they love it as much as you do!

M. Barresi said...

She's enjoyed a few other books I've loaned her, but I guess Case Histories just didn't hit the spot. But she's already started The Electric Michelangelo and says it's much better. Hopefully she'll return this one after completion.

callie said...

I know I'm a bit late to the dance posting on this now...but I've finally started Case Histories. I began only yesterday and actually had to put it down because I found her writing & her characterizations so intense...I needed a break. I spent the whole of the evening wondering why I continue to write anything at all if it can't be like Kate Atkinson's stuff. So. Seems we'll have more to discuss when I'm finished. I'll email you when I'm done and perhaps we can trade thoughts. Cheers.

M. Barresi said...

Callie - drop me a line when you're done with Case Histories, or anytime for that matter. This novel leaves us with plenty to talk about.

Kate S. said...

I loved Case Histories. I included it among my top ten reads of 2005. Like Callie, I found that reading it made me aspire to write better myself.

M. Barresi said...

Hi Kate, thanks for stopping by. I loved Case Histories too. One of the best of 2005. (I recently bought another Atkinson book too.) I'm waiting for her next one to come out. I heard it has Jackson in it.