Books and Reviews

One of the perks of my job is going to my mailbox and finding books.  I don’t even have to review them.  Just read them.  The publishers are hoping I’ll use them for class.  Today was a perfect reading day:  rain rain rain.  I just finished Luminous Airplanes by Paul La Farge.  I had never heard of the author or the book, yet,I kept looking at the cover, wondering, who wrote this book?  I don’t think it was because of the rain, or the fact most of my spring break has been spent in isolation-and this book kept me company; I think the book was damn good.  Then I look up the author on Amazon and discover only 9 reviews for this book, half  bad.  What’s up with that?  Is it me or them?  If I had read the review first, I may have looked at the book and decided: meh.  Meh? What’s up with that word?  The book is definitely not meh. What’s the opposite of meh?

Same thing happened with another book that came to my mailbox at work.  The Dubious Salvation of Jack V by Jacques Strauss.  Ditto. Ditto.  No prior knowledge of book.   There are a lot of books that take place in South Africa, yet, this book written in the voice of an eleven-year-old boy (maybe that’s more my speed) really kept me engaged.  Do readers write bad reviews  because they don’t like to hear about masturbation, or because the mention of masturbation gets them sidetracked and they never finish the book?  Both books take place in the 70’s, the first book starts there, then moves onward, and maybe it’s because I can relate to that time period.  Being from Holland, a Dutch town, reading about Pretoria reminded me how we’d march around the gym singing “We are Marching to Pretoria…” and maybe that’s all it takes for me to get swooped away in a book, a little trigger of sorts, but surely other people have read this book and realized how it sparkles and bangs.  Surely.

On the other hand, if these books were getting great reviews, publishers may not be sending them my way.  I need my perks.


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