Thursday, January 23, 2014

So Many Books, So Little Time

I'm reading: So Many Books, So Little TimeTweet this!

In the years since I've been blogging my book reading has dropped off. I suspect know I'm not the only one in the digital age with this issue. But I have plans to make this a year of books--I even added a tab/page on my blog header to track my reading*. Most likely via books in their old-fashioned form.

I was gifted a 2nd generation Kindle year ago when they first came out and, although the screen is easy on my aging eyes, I almost never pick it up as a first choice. I love going to the library to look over the new arrivals and staff picks and slipping into the stacks to locate a particular book and only to get distracted by others nearby.

So, anyway, I kicked up my reading in November/December 2013 and I'm on a roll. However, as I enjoy the blessing of a good book, I recall its curse. It's so hard to put a good story down! Even if it's late and night and my vision if blurring and my heading nodding with exhaustion, I want to will myself awake and lure myself from much-needed sleep to keep on with the story.

Good books make it hard to Get Things Done.

On a recent trip to the library, I picked up a newish release, The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., Adelle Waldman's debut novel. I returned it unread.

Then I read that Lena Dunham, creator, writer, director, etc. of the HBO series, Girls read that booked and liked it so much, she had her staff read it. I'm not so much a fan of Girls as I am of the young, outspoken Dunham, but I do keep up with the show, so I checked out Love Affairs again.

It reads like a piece of Girls fanfiction with a male lead who reminds me of an adult Holden Caufield. The novel features a Brooklyn-based bunch of young adults, a few years out of college striving to develop careers, many as writers. One of the central characters is even named Hannah and hails from Ohio, like Dunham's character.

It's hard to tell who is riffing on whom, though. If you saw this season's first episode, you'll recall a scene in the coffee shop where Adam, (Dunham's boyfriend in the series) runs into an old girlfriend (and her galpal played by an over-the top Amy Schumer, who has some pretty funny and edgy moments on her own Comedy Central show). It's incredibly derivative of the first scene in Waldman's book.

The book follows Nathaniel, Nate, through reflections on girlfriends past and present. In keeping with the Girls, theme, he's a lot like a more successful version of the grumpy and annoying coffee shop guy who used to date Shosh, and whose name I always forget. He's really shallow, self-centered and obnoxious.

Waldman provides interesting and honest insights for every woman who has every felted jilted in a relationship. That said, we cannot forget that Nate's character was written by a woman. However, Waldman apparently receives male fan mail saying how astutely she described Nate's thoughts.

If you like Girls, this book is worth a read.

I read the hardcover edition and noticed at least a half a dozen typos, which was disappointing. Really, it's the kind of thing I expect from an indie self-published e-book, not an acclaimed novel from a major publisher.

*Admittedly this is as much to help me remember the titles as it is to hold myself accountable. I'm also using it to jot down interesting titles for my to-read list.


Gayle Weiswasser said...

Funny - I don't like Girls but I did like Love Affairs. I found it a lot less pretentious than the show. :)

Kim Moldofsky said...

Gayle, I can totally see that. I just thought it was interesting that it read like fan fiction. It was interesting to learn that Lena Dunham fancied the book, too.

I really like the first few episodes of Girls. I found last season odd and this season--well, I'm not sure where things are going. I really enjoy interviews with Lena Dunham, though.