Daily Archives: October 4, 2009

The Angel’s Game – DNF

angelsgameA writer never forgets the first time he accepted a few coins or a word of praise in exchange for a story. He will never forget the sweet poison of vanity in his blood, and the belief that, if he succeeds in not letting anyone discover his lack of talent, the dream of literature will provide him with a roof over his head, a hot meal at the end of the day, and what he covets the most: his name printed on a miserable piece of paper that surely will outlive him. A writer is condemned to remember that moment, because from then on he is doomed and his soul has a price. – from The Angel’s Game, page 1 –

When I read that first paragraph, I thought: “Oh, this is going to be good.” It had all the attributes of a hook…beautiful prose, a little (possible) foreshadowing, intrigue. So you can imagine my disappointment when more than 100 pages into Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s newest novel I laid it down realizing I would not finish it. I read Zafon’s first book A Shadow of the Wind (read my review) and loved it. I was so excited to snag an ARC of The Angel’s Game. I wanted to love it too. So what went wrong?

For starters, the main character David Martin is uninteresting. He is a blossoming writer living in 1920s Barcelona who becomes obsessed with his stories. I ultimately stopped caring what happened to him, and once that happened, the book was doomed for me since The Angel’s Game is David’s story.

But even more than my disinterest in the main character, I found myself disappointed with the writing. It is just so-so, and mostly overly dramatic when it doesn’t need to be. On top of that, Zafon makes a clumsy attempt to parallel his novel to that of Great Expectations (there is unrequited love, a mysterious benefactor, and multiple references to Dicken’s work). He also borrows liberally from the themes of his first novel…I found it rehashed and boring.

So despite my best efforts…reading well beyond the point I wanted to…The Angel’s Game lands in the pile of rare books which I was not able to finish. Since my opinion on a book is obviously not the only opinion out there, you might want to read other bloggers’ reviews:

Devourer of Books

1 More Chapter

Pages Turned

Book Chatter and Other Stuff

Medieval Bookworm

Lost in Books

Thoughts of Joy

A Bookworm’s World

Fresh Ink Books

This Book and I Could Be Friends

Nonsuch Book

We Be Reading

Stella Matutina

Have you read and reviewed this book? If so, leave me a comment with your link and I’ll add you to this post.

Sunday Salon – October 4, 2009

Sunday Salon

October 4, 2009

8:00 AM

Good morning, faithful readers! Fall has FINALLY arrived in Northern California with chilly mornings, warm afternoons and cold evenings. We’ve actually had to build a fire in the woodstove the last two nights…and this after triple digits last Saturday!

I’ve had a difficult week. I fell ill with the flu on Tuesday night and was pretty much out of commission until yesterday. Fever and aches are now gone, but my energy is still pretty low. I plan to spend today catching up on my blogs and reading. Yesterday I finally cleared my Google Reader…and by that I mean I read over 1000 unread blog posts! Lucky I did because I discovered many new and upcoming challenges and events which I added to A Novel Challenge. This is the season for new reading challenges and I expect that from now until the end of the year I will be very busy on that blog.

Speaking of challenges – how many of you are planning to participate in Dewey’s 24 hour Read-A-Thon October 24-25? I missed the one in April due to being the mom of a new puppy…but there are no excuses this time. I plan to participate and knock some books from my TBR pile.

Since my last Sunday Salon I’ve gotten in some decent reading (although as a whole, September was a terrible reading month for me). I read and reviewed A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman for a TLC book tour. Wow, I really loved that book. The subject matter is tough, but the writing? Oh my, just beautiful. As part of that tour Ru Freeman offered me a guest post and I offered her one. I wrote about A Different Kind of Connection (I hope you’ll pop over to Ru’s blog and read it). Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about our constant connections through the Internet (Twitter, Facebook, etc…) and how that impacts our lives. Before technology made it possible to have thousands of “friends” on Facebook or follow hundreds of conversations on Twitter, most people had a small group of friends and acquaintances. Even still, we sometimes missed birthdays or felt overwhelmed with our social obligations. How is it possible to keep up with all the connections we are making on line? I know I very quickly found myself overwhelmed with Twitter – a rapid fire form of communication with dozens of subjects being discussed simultaneously. I’m not sure that these types of social networks actually enhance our lives. Don’t get me wrong, I have met people on line who I have formed warm and meaningful relationships with – people who I wish lived closer to me so that we might go to lunch together, or see a movie together, or simply spend some quality time hanging out together. But that said, I don’t think we can possibly maintain all the connections which social networking encourages. How do you feel? Do you find yourself feeling stressed at trying to maintain contact with hundreds of people? Do you feel like you cannot possibly keep up with all the topics of discussion which play out in a single day? I know I am now re-thinking my priorities and simplifying where I can.

Whew, that just spilled out.

Back to books…

I also finished reading A Bend in the River, by V.S. Naipaul this week (read my review). Ugh. Hated it. I expect some people will take me to task for not loving this author, but I was completely put off by his writing.

My current read is fantastic. Goldengrove by Francine Prose is about how a thirteen year old girl adjusts to life after her older sister unexpectedly dies. It takes place over one summer. Last night I picked up the book and blew through 50 pages. I would have kept reading only the Tylenol PM I took had just kicked in. I expect to finish this book quickly. But you won’t see a review until October 13th when I tour it for TLC Book Tours.

I’ve officially given up on The Angel’s Game. Watch for my thoughts on that later.

What are you doing today? Whatever it is, I hope it involves a great book!