Current Feelings Towards Unfinished Books on My Bed

The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber: Oh, come on. I’m almost done with you. You’ve been good for about 500 pages. But isn’t this getting a bit anticlimactic? I’ve followed you this far and I’ll finish you, of course. But you can do better than this, even though I still love you. For the most part.

The Fifties by David Halberstam: Lots of info there, pal. Too bad I’m reading another longass book. And a couple of recent dense reads burned me out a bit on history. But I’ll finish you up eventually. You’ve done your homework like a good boy. But what’s up with the “us” shit?

Empire Falls by Richard Russo: Sorry, boss, you’re a bit too simplistic and cartoonish for my tastes. In fact, you resemble a popular novel. But I have to finish you this week for the book club. What were you thinking naming the daughter Tick? And sure, you can move characters around on a chessboard, but I’m a bit puzzled why you won the Pulitzer. The blue-collar people here are fey facsimilies of upper-class upstate types: both in their makeups and their problems. 50 pages in and no one’s hurting. Please tell me, Mr. Russo, that all of your books aren’t like this, and that things will get more effed up here.

American in the Twenties by Geoffrey Perrett: I’m not quite sure why I haven’t jumped into you. You’re sincere, you’re informative, you’re a labor of love. But you’re not quite my cup of tea right now. Maybe we can both blame Halberstam. Can’t wait to get into you, but there’s still this quasi-bronchitis thing. Go figure. Maybe we’ll sleep together sometime this week.

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  1. Empire Falls: it’s a midbrow novel. The ending is deeply unsuccessful. Considering your attitude towards it so far, put it down and read “Straight Man” instead. Very funny and accomplished comic novel about a lit prof in the boondocks. Same theme as Wonder Boys but better. That’s my advice.

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