Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book #14: "Misfortune" by William Stace

I've already mostly forgotten what this book was about. To be fair, I read it almost three weeks ago, but I think it'd be equally fair to say that you don't forget the good books. Even the bad books are memorable in some way; even if they're not exactly pleasant memories. This one was just one forgettable, mediocre book. Something that was hard to remember even when I was reading it, which is honestly just an impressive display of nothingness.

What vague memories I have of it allow me to tell you that it was about a boy who was raised as a girl by his big weirdo of a father. The story was set in England in the 17th Century or so, most of it taking place in a big, boring, empty mansion. The boy, called Rose, was abandoned and later picked up by a very rich nobleman, who for some ridiculous reason decided to bring him up as a girl with the help of his mother's nurse. Rose grows up, has a couple of friends and as he hits his teenage years--well, you can probably guess what happens. All is revealed. Rose runs away and goes on some frankly bizarre and confusing adventures, then comes back and everything is tied up neatly in a big fat bow of Happily Ever After--something about wearing a dress while also having a beard...I don't know. It's not important.

Nothing ever felt important. The story is told by Rose, and, if there's something I've learned while doing the Cannonball is that very, very few people know how to do a good first-person narration. It takes a very good writer to manage the technique, and William Stace just isn't that good, and Rose came off as exceedingly whiny and pathetic a narrator. One who is also rather unlikable. And when you start off with an unlikable main character and you give them nothing good to be surrounded by- no fleshed-out supporting characters, no exciting dialogue, no real plot, not even a good mystery-- you just have a big pile of nothing on your hands.

I can't even get worked up enough to hate it. Stace is not a terrible writer, but he started out with a weak story that never really got going. I confess I spent most of the last quarter of the book skipping large paragraphs of boring, useless exposition in an attempt to just get the book finished. I even put off writing this review for a very long time--the book was so boring that I didn't even want to relieve it long enough to write this.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Work, books, family...

Apologies for this place being so quiet lately. But I've had a few things going on that have kept me both from updating and reading in general, which makes me sad in the pants.

First, I got a job! I won't say the company name here, but I'll tell you it's a high-end retail store at a mall here in Dallas. I'm on my third week and so far I'm liking it just fine. It can get pretty hectic sometimes--this week in particular has been rather insane-- but the good thing is that the busier you are, the faster the time goes by. I have a problem with sitting still doing nothing, which just makes long shifts drag by, so keeping busy is a good thing. I do get home exhausted after a long day (specially given that I spent the last three months sitting around doing nothing all day), but my feet are finally getting used to the activity. To top it all off, I'm making good money and I'm able to help with household expenses, which is always nice.

I still want to go for the teaching degree, of course. But given the state of Education in Texas right now, I think I'd better put if off for a while. I think I'll still try to get the certification this year just to have it on hand for when schools start hiring again, but that will have to wait until I'm a little bit more secure at the job. So, it's not an ideal situation, but I have a job and I'm very grateful for that.

Specially because a brutal summer is coming and I want to be able to use the A/C all day without feeling guilty at not being able to afford it. Bwah.

In other news, my older brother's going to be moving to Dallas with his wife, and I couldn't be more excited. They just got married in December and they'll be moving here for school sometime during the summer. I'm ecstatic at having some family nearby, and the fact that we'll both be here will make it a lot easier for the rest of my family to visit us. It'll be fun.

As for my Cannonball, I'm going along at a good pace. I'm on book 22 and not that far behind on my reviews. I decided to lump all of the Sookie Stackhouse books into one giant review, as separate posts would be too repetitive and full of spoilers. I'm on book 8 right now and should be done pretty soon.

That's about it on this end. Nothing terribly exciting, but I'm keeping busy while trying not to melt. It's already hitting 95 here during the day, with lows in the 80s at night. I did not miss you, summer.