Bout Of Books August 2014: Update #1

Bout of Books 11

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

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My Goals

1. Read at least 2 books this week

2. Read a book from the very beginning to the very end.

3. Spend at least an hour reading every day.

NEW GOAL! Read at least once a day, for any period of time

4. Write update posts as I go along.

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Despite not having posted yesterday or today intil now at nearly three in the morning, I have been participating in the bout of books! It turned out that a lot was going on yesterday, so I only got the chance to read for about twenty minutes before bed, but I put in an hour or so today, and I’ve decided to amend my rules a bit. I was going to being with Eric Shaw Quinn’s book Say Uncle, which I do still plan to read, but quite simply, the battery on my Kindle is dead and I just haven’t plugged it up to charge yet, so I decided to read something physical, and since I’ve only read two pages of Emma by Jane Austen, I thought I’d pick that up. Turns out I was really not in the mood for upper-middle-class-turn-of-the-century-English-match-making last night, so I picked up The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice, a book I read about half of last year and then just kind of forgot about for a while. It wasn’t necessarily boring, it was just taking a very long time to build up to anything exciting, and some of Anne’s little writing quirks made me roll my eyes a bit. Still, I picked it back up and I’m actually having a fun time reading it! So, I have amended my rules above, and here is my progress so far for the week:

Monday, August 18, 2014

1. Reading: The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice

2. Time Spent: About 20 minutes or so

3. Pages read: 14 Pages

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

1. Reading: The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice

2. Time Spent: About an hour

3. Pages read: 28 Pages

The Wolf Gift

I’m enjoying myself with this book, I pretty much picked up right where I left off and only needed to be reminded of a few details. The Wolf Gift is a good story with Anne’s normal fluid, poetic style of prose and very compelling dialogue, but I do have a few qualms with this book. The first is that it seems to me that Anne wrote herself into this book as several different middle-aged, successful women who get to sleep with the hunky twenty-something main character. He meets and makes passionate love with two different women who are a little bit higher on the age spectrum than he is, and both women are intellectuals who want to talk about art and life and philosophy and nature. The first is very flirtatious, while the second is a divorced woman who had a bad marriage and lives alone amongst the California redwoods, so it’s not like I’m saying these characters are exactly Anne Rice incarnate, but it does feel a bit like she may have written herself into these women and allowed herself to sleep with the charming and sexy young reporter who speaks like a seventeenth century vampire, even when using an iPhone. Hell, the book even opens with the protagonist writing a piece for the newspaper about a beautiful well-furnished house for sale, and Anne Rice has had a public listing for a beautiful well-furnished house for sale up on the front page of her website for years. It’s just a thought, that’s all.

My other big problem here is that there are some sections where Anne just begins regurgitating her research onto the page without any finesse. A character will go on a three paragraph explanation of just what a wolf bite does to you, another character will go through an extensive list of all the influential werewolf fiction published in the last two hundred years, and another character will go into unnecessary detail describing things we don’t really need to know about as readers. These extra details aren’t immersive, they feel flat and insincere, and it seems to me that she just had all of this werewolf research she’d done and needed to do something with, so rather than working it somehow into the plot in a compelling way, she just has her characters list it out a long string of mildly interesting, somewhat related facts that may or may not have to do with what’s happening.

I have a couple of other nitpicky issues too, some of which other readers have already addressed: Reuben speaks like Lestat, and it’s just not very believable coming from the mouth of someone who was presumably born in the late eighties, no matter how educated and dashing he is. People do not stage whisper “Dear God!” whenever they find something shocking unless they’re Frasier Crane. I also find the gratuitous use of the word “iPhone” to be aggravating. “Reuben checked his iPhone,” “His iPhone buzzed,” “He knew she’d have her iPhone on her this time of day,” “He carefully worked the touch screen on the iPhone with his paws,” etc. etc. Then there’s the monster sex… I mean, I get that he’s a man-wolf, so he’s still anatomically a man, just a big hairy one with a snout, but still, it’s just not really all that sexy, and this is a woman who knows how to do sexy, to a disturbing degree even, she did write the Sleeping Beauty books for gods sake.

Despite all of that, though, it’s still in an involving and interesting read, and right now about 3/4 of the way through the book, some interesting stuff has finally started happening! So we’ll see how it goes. At any rate, I wouldn’t still be reading it if I didn’t like it, and I’m a huge Anne Rice fan, so I really mean no disrespect to her, I just find some of the things she does to try and seem present and modern are a little cringe-worthy, and it seems like she’s trying a little too hard. But we’ll see.

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