Two books I didn’t like (sad, sad)

I put the words “sad, sad” in the title line here, but that was silly.  I am not sad at all.  I am still very happy, because as you may recall, THE SAINTS WON THE SUPER BOWL, causing me to tear up happily every time Drew Brees opens his mouth (he’s such a sweet dear) or every time I see a picture of all the confetti and rejoicing.  And everyone is all “If only my daddy were alive to see this day,” and New Orleans is throwing the biggest party possibly every thrown, like even bigger than that party in “Death in Venice” with the elephants, and somebody predicted on Saturday that Porter would not be able to block Wayne effectively, and (he did though)—

(Dear Crazy Jenny, Hush about the Super Bowl.  Kisses, Sane Jenny)

So here are some books that I did not enjoy so far in February.

Clara Callan, Richard B. Wright

When I first read about this book, I discovered within myself a love for epistolary novels that was greater (I thought) than my unlove of novels set during the Great Depression. But do you know, I was completely wrong.  I mean if there was ever going to be a Great Depression book that I could manage, it should have been this one.  It is epistolary, it focuses on the relationship between two sisters, and one of the sisters becomes, I swear to you, a radio soap opera star in New York.  Those are some ingredients that should mix together to create a book that I would love – but they did not.

So I’m swearing off Great Depression books forever, unless you tell me with great conviction that you have a Great Depression book that transcends its Great Depression-ness and manages to be amazing anyway.  And not dreary.  And it obviously can’t be set in England or it doesn’t count.  Any thoughts?

Other reviews:

an adventure in reading
Books for Breakfast
Kristina’s Book Blog

Gray Horses, Hope Larson

I read this for the Graphic Novel Challenge, making it my one, two, third book read for the Graphic Novel Challenge, and the second one about which I was just not that crazy.  I wanted to like it because I have read nice things about Hope Larson’s Salamander Dreams, which the library didn’t have but they did have this.  Lesley read it and said there wasn’t enough to it, for a book, and I said, I don’t care what you think, I’m reading it anyway.  And no, she was totally right.  There is not enough to it.

Noemie is a French exchange student trying to find her way in an American city, and she has vivid dreams where she has a horse and helps a kid.  Back in real life, she makes a friend, and a dude follows her and takes her picture and leaves the pictures for her to find, which she finds sweet.  That is not romantic at all; it is completely creepy.  In fact I always felt that the creepiest deed committed by the Big Bad Villain of Season Two of Buffy was when he drew pictures of her sleeping and left them on her pillow.  This doesn’t feel so different from that; except that when the Big Bad Villain of Season Two of Buffy behaved in this manner, steps were taken.

I read this for the February mini-challenge, graphic novels with animals in, hosted by (fellow Louisianian & Super Bowl celebrator & I’m really shutting up about this now) Chris at Stuff as Dreams Are Made On.  But I am going to read that Darwin book if I can get it, and that will be for the mini-challenge too and hopefully I will enjoy it more.

Other reviews:

A Life in Books
A Striped Armchair
The Zen Leaf

Tell me if I missed yours!

P.S. Okay, I am a little bit sad.  A very little bit sad, though still mostly happy about the Saints.  I am a little sad because I found out today that I didn’t get into one of my grad schools.  Mostly I am still pleased about the Saints, and I reminded myself of this by watching Porter and Shockey give man hugs, and by watching Drew Brees holding his little son.  But a small part of me is a bit sad that I didn’t get into one of my grad schools.

31 thoughts on “Two books I didn’t like (sad, sad)

  1. I’m sorry about your grad school : ( That really stinks on ice– I wish you tons and tons of luck on the others. I’ve heard that if you hang scissors on a wall it’s good luck. Don’t know how true that is, but I thought I’d pass it along. ;p Oh, and virtual hugs for the little bit of sadness ’cause everyone needs hugs sometimes.

  2. Oh, that is a little bit sad – I’m sorry! But still… it’s only one! Plenty of others! Lots of positive thoughts being sent in your direction!

    Also, I don’t think that I’d ever realized it, but now that you’ve brought it up, I can’t think of a single Great Depression novel that I’ve read. I feel like there has to be at least one, but nothing is coming to mind.

    • Thank you! I appreciate the good wishes. My fingers are crossed from now to March.

      I read a bunch of Great Depression books in American lit classes, I think, and they’re always so dusty and miserable.

  3. There was a Depression novel for young adults by Irene Hunt, and I cannot now call its title to mind. It was about two brothers who leave home because there is not enough food there – one sings and one plays the piano, and the sweet younger brother who sings is protected by the bitter older brother. And I found it touching, and also liked the small details about life on the road during the Depression…and it’s the only Depression novel I ever read that I liked.

  4. I’m not sure I’ve read any books set in the depression. I keep thinking I must have, but my mind has gone blank. Sorry to hear that you didn’t like the books – I hope your next read is much better.

  5. Getting rejected by grad schools is horrible, and I sympathize. Two years ago I was getting rejected by every Ph.D program I applied to, one after another, until I finally got accepted by an MA program that was definitely my last choice. And this year I just went back and applied again, so I can look forward to a whole new flock of rejection letters.

    Didn’t Zilpha Keatley Snyder write some Great Depression novels? I have a feeling that The Velvet Room was pretty good, but I haven’t read it in years.

    • Ugh. I knew this was going to happen when I started the applications, but I guess I wasn’t as prepared for rejection as I thought I was.

      Yes! Of course, The Velvet Room – you’re right, I loved that book! Which is funny – I don’t usually care for Zilpha Keatley Snyder, or Great Depression books, but yeah, The Velvet Room was wonderful.

      • Zilpha Keatley Snyder is one of those undependable ones. I find a lot of her books to be really disturbing and strange, but a few of them are great. I remember especially liking The Velvet Room and Libby on Wednesday – and I always thought that one of the books Libby was writing (set in the Depression, called something like The Pierce-Arrow Palace) sounded an awful lot like The Velvet Room.

  6. The Great Depression is just so . . . depressing. I prefer the Panic of 1893 myself.

    Here’s a Depression book though: Winter Cottage by Carol Ryrie Brink. Not amazing, but cosy and hopeful and strangely stick-in-your-head. (Though it could be you need to be 10 to get the full effect.)

    • Is the Panic of 1893 the one caused by the wicked ways of the robber barons? I feel like I remember that from my Howard Zinn as a junior.

      Thanks for the recommendation – cosy and hopeful are two adjectives I love to hear applied to books! When I read it I will try to remember what it was like to be ten. 🙂

  7. So, I enjoyed reading about your thoughts about Gray Horses WAY more than reading the actual book! And yes, the photograph thing WAS creepy. And honestly, I just didn’t get the whole dream thing. What was that all supposed to mean, anyway? Apparently it went over my head.

    Sorry to hear about the grad school. 😦 But wishing you better luck with the others.

    I can’t advise on Great Depression books because honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever read one.

  8. Hi Jenny! Sorry to hear about grad school. If you want a New Orleans native’s perspective on the Superbowl, head over to my blog. It all starts the day of the SB. 🙂

  9. Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse is an interesting YA book of narrative poetry, very easy to read.

    Sorry about the grad school. I know some of them are trying to tighten everything up because of dismal hiring rates.

  10. oh crap – abt grad schools. Bummer.
    and …. Wasn’t Their Eyes Were Watching God set during those years? tho it didn’t really say it was – will have to do better research and of course I will not rec Grapes of Wrath due to allergy of Steinbeck. I’m sure I’ve read SOMETHING but nothing comes to mind. or I could be wrong. that’s possible, too.
    and I love your enthusiasm for the NOLASAINTS and laughed at your quick scolding by Sane Jenny. Does she come out often?

    • Oh, she comes out hardly ever. My brain is overwhelmingly ruled by Crazy Jenny (though both of them are v. v. excited about the Saints.)

      I read Grapes of Wrath (bah) – and I did like Their Eyes Were Watching God. I don’t remember if it was the Depression, though I do remember I hated it when it flooded. Was it set during the Depression? Because I did like that one! I may have to eat my words; y’all have already reminded me of two Depression books I liked.

    • Thanks – I seem to be saddest when somebody says “Aw, Jen, that really sucks,” and then the rest of the time I’m fine. I am never sure whether this means I am playing up to my friends and family, or repressing my true feelings 99% of the time. 😛

  11. Pshaw! There are other grad schools. Fate has a hand in this, you know, and the chances are it was helping you to dodge a bullet. Your rightful place will reveal itself.

    • Thank you! That’s what I’m trying to convince myself of! This one seemed like a great idea because it was in a town where I know a whole bunch of people. Lovely people. People who would have fed me and shown me around. But I think, I think, it will be for the best.

  12. I’m so sorry about grad school, Jenny! Silly admissions officers, can’t they see how talented you are?! I have faith that the other schools will show more sense. As Jessica said, their loss!

    And that’s too bad about Gray Horses…I was looking forward to it, as I enjoyed her other books. Hopefully I’ll have more luck with it than you did, though. I think it could definitely also be said that there isn’t quite enough in Salamander Dreams for a book, but I enjoyed the visuals and the feel of it enough that it didn’t matter.

    • Thanks! I am trying to stay optimistic. 🙂

      I may never know about Salamander Dreams – my library doesn’t have it and my bookshops so far have refused to order it for me. HATE.

  13. What is up with literary stalkers? You can tell the writer wants to make the stalker seem very romantic and dedicated but 9 times out of 10 they just come off as complete creeps. I just read William Boyd’s “Armadillo”, where the hero (otherwise pretty appealing) takes a hard left into Stalker City during Part 2, which totally ruined the romantic ending for me. I kept thinking, “Oh, sure, they’re in love now, but as soon as the book ends, you know he’s going to start checking up on her cell phone bills.”

    Sorry about your school, Jenny. I hope you get better news next time.

    • Exactly! If they are creepy at the beginning they will only get MUCH MORE CREEPY later. I feel like girls have enough negative media images out there, without adding in this whole idea of stalkers being romantic.

      Thanks for your good wishes about grad school! 🙂

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