Book Review Gone Awry

Part of the joy of returning to reading and joining PaperbackSwap is that I am actually paying attention to what books are out there. I read book reviews wherever I find them: NPR,  the PBS blog posts, LA Times, the business blogging and prepping communities. This has led to me being exposed to a wide variety of books I never would have encountered. Coming to my door are some best sellers, fabulous Canadian award winners, some rather high-brow fair, some interesting foreign authors, and the occasional off-the-wall titles.

I decided I wanted to write a review of one of the latter categories.

I have no idea where I first heard of Dick Cheney Saves Paris, but I dropped it into my PaperbackSwap queue.

Next thing I know, I have a personal message in my inbox from the author, Ryan Forsythe. He was personally sending me a copy through the service and wanted to know how I wanted it inscribed! The next day the book arrived, along with a witty note that read, “I thought of trying to hand deliver since I go right by your house every day and it would save me $3, but I thought it would be too weird. I don’t be ‘that creepy writer guy’!”

Back in high school, one of the books on the extra credit reading list (how that made my teacher’s pet heart go pitter pat!) was Sound and Fury by William Faulkner. I got half way through the first chapter and gave up on the book … and the extra credit list. (Later I was told that if I could make it through the first chapter I was home free. I learned later that they lied.) Then, as a senior, I was assigned Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce. I read it because I had to, but it definitely cemented in my mind that stream of consciousness writing was not for me. When I ordered Dick Cheney Saves Paris I had no idea it would be written in that format. Fortunately this one was fun and follow-able!

Put on your seat belt, folks, this book is a wild ride! First off, it’s about time travel. The time jumps reminded me of Slaughter House Five, only zanny.

In addition to the main plot which is about how Dick Cheney is attempting to use time travel to prevent the election of Al Gore and thereby save the life of a future Paris Hilton, there is also the story of how this book ever got published. Normally I dislike it when the author shows behind the curtain. As part of the book club I was in with Hillary, we read Milan Kundera’s Immortality. In it, the author often stops to talk about how he created certain characters. That annoyed me, but this book did not. Perhaps it is because the suspension of disbelief was gone on page one…

This was a fun, light read that immediately followed something quite heavy (Bernard Malamud’s The Assistant), which definitely added to my enjoyment, as did all the tangential memories it stirred.

Have you ever spent a great deal of time reading a book thinking about all the other books it brought to mind? or Was this post as stream of consciousness as Joyce or Faulkner (hopefully in a good way)?

6 thoughts on “Book Review Gone Awry”

  1. What a weird title, but the plot seems like it would be fun. Let me say something about Faulkner. One teacher I had put it this way: you have to push yourself through Faulkner the first few times, but then it becomes easier. Apparently, he’s someone you have to get acquainted with because his writing style and subjects are just hard to get into. Actually that makes me wonder why he became so popular to begin with.

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    1. I’ve read some of Faulkner’s short stories, and at least I could understand those. I give huge credit to anyone who could get through Sound and Fury and get anything meaningful from it. For me, I’ve struck out three times, and life is too short to read books I don’t enjoy … unless a grade is attached!!!!

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  2. I haven’t read any Faulkner, and though I’ve read books in the past just because I think I should, I’m moving away from that particular brand of self-torture, so I’ll probably never read anything he’s written. 🙂

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  3. I’m afraid I don’t give author’s the luxury of having to push through until they resonate. There are just too many authors and too much literature that are engaging and compelling and thought and spirit provoking to do that. I just figure they aren’t for me. When I’m in the middle of a book, I don’t think of how it reminds me of another. I’m just lost in it -and can’t wait to get back to it. Reading is so individual, isn’t it? Like my sister and I both read a lot and we have many similar interests – but almost every book she’s ever recommended has been one I don’t enjoy. Weird.

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    1. It is intriguing that you and your sister’s literary tastes are so different when you share so many other similarities! I wonder what accounts for that. Then again, I have enjoyed all the books you have recommended. Maybe we really are sisters!

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