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Friday, September 19, 2014

Ron, Serena, Junot & Oscar To My Rescue

I seem to be in the midst of a good novel slump. Of the last five contemporary novels I've read for the first time, only Ron Rash's "Serena" (2008) really grabbed me. The other four (published between 1994 and 2014) all had reasonably compelling narrative lines, little groan-inducing prose and characters that mostly held my interest. Good enough to finish but not good enough to recommend to a discerning reader.

As someone who likes finishing things, page turners like those four novels have their place. But getting through an entire book and not wanting to jot down a single sentence leaves me a little chilly, like listening to a technically dazzling guitar solo without hearing one phrase that makes me smile. And those magical sentences often don't even draw attention to themselves: "Nothing more exhilarating than saving yourself by the simple act of waking". That gem is from "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" and is fresh on my mind because I luckily got to re-read Junot Diaz' 2007 stunner in the middle of the anemic .200 batting streak I'm in at present.

Had a novel slump of your own recently? Which books put you back on track?

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