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Book 61 of 80

September 30, 2010

I picked a book for Malaysia. Got it at the library today.

And I’m already kinda “meh” about reading it. Not a good start, huh? It’s called The Rice Mother by Rani Manicka.

First of all — it’s nearly 500 pages. Whoops. (Those long books have been killing me.)

Second of all — I should have known that a child bride book wasn’t going to be uplifting (and there’s always the obligatory “wedding night sex” scene…which I feel like I’ve read thousands of times already and they. ALL. READ. THE. SAME. WAY.)…but I’m getting the impression that this book is going to lay on the dark and depressing with an extra coat of thickness. And it’s not that I can’t appreciate a book that’s gloomy, but I don’t feel like this is going to have amazing characters (like Lush Life, which I just finished) or powerful storytelling (like Let the Great World Spin…which I can’t put down). It already feels cliché. It already feels like a chore.

I know! NONE of these  books should feel that way. But books set in Malaysia were hard to come by; the library wasn’t helping — anything I wanted, they didn’t have. This book got really good reviews everywhere…so, it seemed like my best bet. And it still might surprise me.

Maybe it’s like this: The two non-challenge books in my life this month really impacted me. Lush Life wasn’t a “yeah, it’s good book”…it was a “Wow. I want to write dialogue like that…I want to create characters that you simultaneously loathe and pity. I want to describe people’s actions – the twitch of an eye-brow, the way someone rolls a piece of gum around in his/her mouth — with such clarity.” I saw the story unravel like a season of “The Wire” — and I was really sold. Let the Great World Spin? I talked Matt’s ear off last night at dinner about this book — the intricacies, the observations, the beautiful language. A scene made me cry in the middle of Reading Wednesdays; the power was so subtle that I didn’t feel manipulated either, I just melted.

Those are two great reading experiences. I’m thirsty for great reading experiences. So, I’m putting down the book I’m loving to pick up a book I feel like I have to read? Yikes, right? I never wanted the challenge to head in this direction.

Maybe that’s just a reflection of my mood right now. Maybe there is just discontent brewing in every corner of my life — I’m feeling overwhelmed and under-appreciated, at work and in other areas of my life (I must stop to say that it doesn’t come from Matt…who is with steady reliability my biggest advocate; well, and I’d like to imagine Elliott is too — he’s a two-year-old, I can interpret his kisses and hugs as anything I want) — and the challenge is suffering as a result. Although, I won’t mind making The Rice Mother my scapegoat — if I need to be angry at something, maybe not finding the perfect Malaysia book is something I can channel my energy into instead of focusing on the other problems I’m facing.

Just watch: I’m going to end up liking this book after all.

And maybe everything at work and in life will right itself and I will be happy, goofy, and content again. In the meantime: Can someone PLEASE come over and clean my house? That would help. Oh…and help me reorganize EVERYTHING…since I was hoping we could move into a bigger house, but well, long story short: Matt and I are never leaving this house. I need HGTV (Vern Yip, I’m looking at you!) to show up on my doorstep and show me organizing tips. How do you store 350 board games when you have zero space and a baby on the way? Board game/nursery you suggest? Yeah, that’s what I was thinking too.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 2, 2010 12:51 am

    It’s not too late to change your mind, you can pick from any of this lot:

    http://bibliojunkie.wordpress.com/2010/08/28/celebrating-malaysia-53rd-independence-day/

    • October 2, 2010 6:41 pm

      I really enjoyed your post! Thanks for sharing.

      The first two books sound more like something I’d enjoy. But since I’m 100 pages into The Rice Mother now, I feel like I should stick with it — it’s not great. It’s not atrocious…the story is interesting, it’s just written in a style that I’ve found myself routinely disliking during the challenge. But I’ll stick with it. The Japanese have arrived…so maybe the book will slow down a bit and really explore ideas and characters…instead of this “Wham-Bam” narrative that isn’t anything exciting.

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