Monthly Archives: March 2017

Multiple Listings

I think I just read the book equivalent of a chick flick…

Well, sort of.  But it was a quick read and wasn’t that bad at all (am I sounding a little defensive here?).  But anyway…here’s the standard, quick description for you:

From Tracy McMillan, an author who counts both Oprah Winfrey and Tina Fey as fans, Multiple Listings is a comedic family drama focusing on a single mother whose ex-con father is released from prison after seventeen years and unexpectedly moves in with her, her son, and her much younger boyfriend.

I could give you more, but that gives you enough the overall idea.  It’s more cute than complicated.  As it was written by someone who wrote for AMC’s Mad Men (which I’ve honestly never watched) and for Showtime’s United States of Tara (umm…ditto) the history of her writing it had me intrigued.  So, when a free copy of the book arrived (thank you Goodreads), balanced in its cardboard packaging on top of the mailbox just as it began to rain (thank you fill-in mail carrier), I decided to check it out (ya know…once it had completely dried out of course).

Multiple Listings is written in first person, bouncing between two different perspectives – the woman who is the ‘main’ character and her father.  So it takes both the male and female perspectives, which helps make it not so much of a ‘chick’ read.  But…written from a woman’s perspective, and…basically saying that men are pretty messed up and worthless…?  Yeah, that kind of pushes it in a chick lit kinda way.  Not that it isn’t well written though.

The book seems to make boyfriends out as worthless wastes of time, effort and money.  At least up until the moment that they aren’t, which isn’t for long, and of course any boyfriend who’s a little better than worthless isn’t the same boyfriend that was complained about earlier.

And fathers…?  Those seem to be guys that don’t know enough to keep from screwing their kids up, ensuring that their daughters are going to pick boyfriends who are worthless wastes.  Then of course there are the sons who are simply not yet old enough to be too messed up (and have that youth thing as a built in excuse).  And, if these sons don’t have a father figure to talk to and bond with well…they’re pretty much just wastes of time, effort, etc., etc.  Starting to see a trend here?

Maybe I was just being a little defensive of my gender and was taking things too personal when I read it.  Maybe I’m a little jealous of the author since my writing muse has been a bit quiet and distant lately.  Or maybe I’m making the mistake of finishing this blog entry on trash night and, like it does every trash night, it’s raining…  Sheesh.  A nice, rainy night is just fine for a night in, but not for lugging a few trips of smelly plastic bags down to the curb.  And grumpy doesn’t make for delightful reviews.  I’ll have to remember that when I eventually start reading reviews of my books (note to muse: “Get back here.  You’ve got work to do!”)

But…grumpiness aside, I give a positive review to Multiple Listings (somewhere between a 3.5-4.0 out of 5).  I probably won’t ever read it again, but it had characters that were well fleshed-out, and a fairly focused story (though it did kind of just peter out at the end like it ran out of steam).  And it kept me entertained for a few nights before I fell asleep and that’s pretty much a success.

So…I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to my guy friends, but…if you’re looking for a quick read that’s not too deep, it can fit the bill.

Now I’ve got a 700-page hardcover suspense/horror novel sitting on my nightstand, ready to go.  And that should ensure a few more interesting dreams each night when I set it down.  So here we go…..

 

A Stinky Book Review

I’ve been blog slacking big time lately.  There really should be a word for that.  It’s probably because a few months ago I discovered a company that was looking for bloggers who are writing book reviews to use for advertising.  So of course I thought ‘I could write a bunch of those and earn myself some advertising dollars!’.  Then, when a week went by and I hadn’t started doing it, I felt guilty and put it off for another week.  Then, I read something that wasn’t that bad, but wasn’t that great, and it didn’t seem worth writing about.  Then, I just put it off for a while.  And so, much later, here we are…

In other words, I really need to get to it.  I’ve got hundreds of books sent by authors who have been hoping to receive a review in exchange for taking their time to package them up and take them to the post office (have I told you that my postal carrier absolutely loves it that she has to get out of her vehicle at least three times a week to drop off yet another book-sized package that just won’t fit in the mailbox?)

I actually received one delivery the other day that was a little different.  Instead of simply sending me one book, this self-published author mailed me a box containing his entire trilogy.  Sure, that was a nice gesture, but…

I opened the box with Graham next to me, waiting for his opportunity to take possession of the perfect cat-sized box.  And, as I pulled the stack of books out of the box, I had a three-word review instantly ready to go – These books stink!

And I was meaning that in the completely literal sense.  Graham actually hopped right into the box and, before all four paws had even hit the cardboard bottom, he’d hopped right back out and dashed off to the garage (where I presume he crashed in his litter for a few minutes to try to keep down his lunch).

Whoever wrote those books was a HUGE smoker, that’s for sure.  And apparently, each and every puff he ever took, he blew out directly into that box.  For years on end.  Phew!

Okay, to be honest, those books wouldn’t have been first on my priority list, but I don’t think I’ll ever read them.  I’m scared to pick them up again, and I can only wonder what each page smells like.  And how could I ever write a fair review when all I could think was ‘This chapter really stinks!’.

I’ve been hoping to receive a copy of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods or Lisa Lutz’ The Passenger (books I’ve been wanting to read anyway), but here I have this mini stack of books I don’t even know what to do with.  Throwing them away just seems mean, but it’s either that or leave them on the floor in the corner untouched and unloved where even the cat gives them a wide birth.  Tomorrow’s trash night though so I probably just need to do it – find a pair of tongs to pick those books up and carry them out to curb.  Who knows, maybe they could be well-written pieces of American fiction that just haven’t been discovered yet, but sorry, my eyes are already watering just thinking about the smell of them.  And after all, I’ve got future advertisers to worry about.  If I ever get around to it that is…