Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Sunday Salon: Into the New Year, a DNF Must Fall

Just 13 days into 2013 and I already have my first DNF (did not finish) book of the year. Yay, me.

I'm nothing if not ruthless about abandoning books that aren't holding my interest. Still, it seems a little soon in the year for this, right?  Looking back in my Salon posts, though, I realized that the same thing happened last January (although not until a bit later in the month).

What makes this DNF sad is that Tiffany Baker's The Gilly Salt Sisters was a book that I was really looking forward to reading. I absolutely LOVED The Little Giant of Aberdeen County (see my review here) - so much so that I selected it as among my favorite books of 2009.  

The Gilly Salt Sisters is a magical realism novel set in the fictional (and rather depressing-sounding) Cape Cod town of Prospect in 1980. It's the story of two sisters (Claire and Jo) and their family's salt marsh. Depending on which sister you believe, the salt has magical powers - although not enough to heal the wounds and hurts from the past.

It starts off engaging enough, but by page 100 (of 372), something more needed to start happening. There's a lot of backstory in this one. A lot. Which is fine ... but I also wasn't connecting with the characters as much as I'd hoped. So, back to the library it went.

Other than that, this was a fairly productive week in reading. I accompanied The Husband to several doctors' appointments this week - some of which had several hours of downtime between them - so I needed a quick read on my Kindle that would occupy me. Last month, Jane Freund's memoir about having thyroid cancer was a freebie on Amazon and since that is exactly what we're dealing with - and what all the appointments this week were for - I thought Eggshells and Elephants: My Cancer Journey Thus Far would be more than apropos.

That it certainly was - and I'll have a longer review up at some point - but although I finished this, it left me wanting more. Perhaps this was intentional (the author makes mention of a sequel) but I felt there were aspects of the thyroid cancer journey itself that would have benefited from more explanation or reflection. Instead, there are nearly entire chapters devoted to Freund's pets and other seemingly extraneous information that, at times, seemed to weigh the writing and the story down.

If you're my Friend on Facebook, you know that The Husband is in isolation right now for HIS thyroid cancer treatment. In order to kill any possible remaining traces of cancer (he had surgery back in November), he was given radioactive iodine on Thursday and since he's, well ... radioactive, he needs to be quarantined away from us and the cat for an entire week. (I'm envisioning this pill like a haz-mat version of Pac-Man, chomping up all the little cancer cells in its midst.) We have him sequestered in our bedroom (I'm sleeping in the guest room). This all started last Thursday and continues until the 17th. There's a rather restricted diet involved too. It's been ... interesting, to say the least.

He's also the kind of spouse who does a LOT around the house (dishes, laundry,  breakfast for the kids, etc.) so I'm definitely feeling the lingering effects of flying solo on that front. To make the housework drudgery easier, I'm listening to The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Sparks on audio.This is the first Muriel Sparks I've read/listened to ... and I'm really enjoying this classic. Miss Jean Brodie is quite the unconventional schoolteacher at the Marcia Blaine School in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1930, and the story revolves around six girls - her "set" - and their relationship to Miss Brodie. This is a novella, so I anticipate being finished with this sometime this week.

Hope you're having a great Sunday!

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Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

You are not alone. I, too, have given up on a book.

Does that help?

Bryan said...

First, I'm sorry to hear about Bill, but hope the treatment helps him. Second, we have a patron at our library who loves The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and that's one I should read sometimes. Third, I did have a DNF too. However, mine, A Tae of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, I plan to get back to later in the year.

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I read some books by Muriel Spark several years ago, but had seen a recent book of hers on a blog, so it's now on my Kindle: Memento Mori. I hope I'm going to enjoy it.

I really hate when a book I've been looking forward to turns into a pill. But DNF books do happen....sigh.

Enjoy your week.