Do you have the same trouble I do reading anything after a really great book? It’s not that I can’t read after a fabulous book, but that I can’t read anything I like after a page-turner. My literary tastes are overwhelmed; everything to come after has all the potency of cold, congealed oatmeal.
This pretty much sums up the scenario of my current read, Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. I almost feel sorry for her. Everyone else adored this book. They heaped accolades on it. It won the Orange Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award, etc., etc., ad infinitum. All this and I still hate it. Well, maybe not HATE it, but I’m seriously not in love with it when by all accounts I should be. I’m tormented by the idea that the book is actually wonderful, but it happened to be in the wrong place in the queue. Bad luck of the draw, so to speak, because the book right before was fantastic.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini was brilliant. Excellent writing married to a great (though grim) story. And it has made an ugly step-sister of Bel Canto. Maybe I should put it down right now and read something I know to be sucky, like anything by Dan Brown. That might get me out of the Thousand Splendid Suns shadow and I can read without prejudice. Maybe I’ll find out that Bel Canto is actually great or maybe I’ll find out that it sucked all along. Reading is a risky business.