Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A book

Ever since I made my goal of 4 books a month I have done it. Its actually a lot easier than I thought. Well it is if I keep 3 books going at a time because if one gets boring I rotate. However I am stuck at the moment because I am reading A Zoo Keeper's Wife with Sarah's book club. Its the first time I am actually reading the book in the right month.
I got so excited because I finally got a library card and they had the book that the book club was reading. I was even taking notes like the good old BYU days so that I could contribute with some sort of small review but I am having the hardest time reading this book! I was going to try to finish it in 3 days 100 pages a day (reading during nap time and at bed time) Well that worked for one day but then it stopped. I can barely get through 3 chapters a day!

I usually love books and anything to do with WWII but I think she could have written the book better than she did. I think in the writing world the fault would fall on the editor here. I find that when an author writes 3 GREAT books (or at least books that make it onto the New York Times Bestseller list) the editors tend to hold back or I guess they have to and give the author complete freedom to do whatever they want which is fine but this book has no flow at all.

When I finish a chapter the next just jumps to where ever land and I can't tell whats happening next with out the help of the date. It's getting frustrating. I still have 130 pages left.

This happens in many historically driven works. I have read many of these and its sad really. They do soooo much GREAT research and find all these great little tidbits that are fascinating but some of this has no relevance to the whole. They want to show off all their research so that they personally don't feel they wasted their time doing it all but it really takes away from the whole of the story. I can understand wanting to feel rewarded for all that research, all the sleepless long nights of reading over journals and memoirs, but honestly I feel like I am reading a 2nd draft here.

I remember getting drafts back saying cut cut cut cut all this and that expand on these parts and it will make for great reading. So many get stuck during this process, they don't want to leave that tidbit behind because they worked so hard on it. They don't care what the professor/editor says its important to the story. No its not. While interesting it is taking away from the story and making it impossible for the reader to finish the thing!

I feel bad writing that but its true. There are some great things in this book (such as the research) but its just so hard to read. When writing people need to remember you do all that research so that you can write and know what you are writing about. (no false statements) YOU the writer need to have the whole picture in your head while you write the story. Your story needs to be its own story that continues to flow until you hit the end. Stop throwing in all the random little things. Show those random little things in a different way a way that flows smoothly.

If you read a lot (especially non-fiction) you have experienced this especially with books written about historical figures by a complete stranger who's only insight is mountains of diaries, clippings and memoirs. I know I should give them some credit, its not easy writing about a complete stranger and having to guess their thoughts and motives behind their actions but if you want to tell a story (which is what books really are fiction or non-fiction) stick to the relevant characters not every single person that pops up in the diary or memoir its distracting.

You know when someone is telling you a story from the other day and they start name dropping. That's what was happening in this book.

I feel this book should really be called: A chronological record of the people and animals who came in and out of Antonina Zabinskis life during WWII in Poland (She was a Zookeeper). I know that is way too long but you would know what you were picking up.

From the title and description I was expecting more than I am getting. Oh Well.

DISCLAIMER: I haven't finished so maybe the last third of the book will tie it all in. Oh and I am biased I don't usually like books so vastly based on animals. (at least I am being honest here)

Sorry for the huge vent but Alexander didn't care to have a discussion about it so I figured I would vent it here. That's what blogs are for right? Opinions and updates a little view into someones mind.

Alright I am done with the vent. Have a nice day.


Sarah said...

I'm just starting it; I'm like 5 pages in... so we'll see. I am excited that you are reading the book club book in the correct month :)

Sarah said...

Hey, I was thinking... you should post this comment (or one like it) on the book club blog. That's the whole point, to get a discussion going, but someone has to start it! And since you're done with the book and you've got an opinion... go post!!