With a 180 pages left (out of 560 with very small print, yes, I’m already making excuses) in Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom – a book I bought more than a year ago to be left abandoned on my nightstand – my literary appreciation 30 days are over.
It seems I have bitten off more than I can chew with this challenge. As Zohar commented when I announced this – the challenge was indeed crazy, and reading cannot be forced. More importantly, just because you publicly advertise something is not a strong enough incentive to do it. I found myself, on certain days, without an iota of will power to pick up a book, but on others I read effortlessly.
I have read approximately 1270 pages in the last 30 day, 230 shy of my goal. That said, I did finish three books and am deeply invested in Freedom, which I intend on finishing this weekend, before all the hype that comes along with its translation to Hebrew (which has already begun if you judge by Ha’aretz recommendations for books this year).
Here are my short reviews of the ones I did reach the end of:
Benjamin Mee’s We Bought A Zoo – The true story of a freelance writer, who decides along with his mother and siblings to purchase a rundown zoo while his wife is diagnosed with cancer. The BBC filmed a documentary about it entitled Ben’s Zoo and it is also being adapted into a Cameron Crowe movie starring Matt Damon, so instead of being located in Britain, we’re going to get an American twist with a lot more tearjerker moments, I guess. Mee tells a story that seems to be stranger than fiction and it made me envy his fascination with animals and the way he immersed himself in what he loves.
Tina Fey’s Bossypants – It’s a short book full of anecdotes in nonchronological order of Fey’s childhood, time at Second City in Chicago, Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock. It’s pretty self-deprecating as is most of Fey’s comedy writing. She praises some of her co-stars and refrains from badmouthing the others (although she does more than imply that some of the people she has worked with are, well, assholes). It made me laugh. But I expected more after reading reviews.
Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave You – The first book I took on, and probably the one I enjoyed the most. The subject is banal – an estranged family that gathers for Shiva once the father dies, each member more messed up than the other. It’s well-written and it avoids falling into lazy plot traps, Tropper doesn’t shy away from emotions while remaining fresh, sarcastic and funny.
So now, I’m once again, shopping for ideas for something to do\not do for the next 30 days. Let you know when I’ve found it.