The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann. I love this book -- what I've read of it, anyway. I've been reading it for years, each time getting a bit further, but I might have gotten as far as I'm going to get: I skipped the final third and read the end. Somewhere about halfway through the book Hans Castorp falls in love with a woman, and it's about the least convincing depiction of loving a woman I've ever read. It's all about her arms, and the medical stuff gets mixed in, and it all became hard to stomach. (The ending is incredible, though.)
Apathy by Paul Neilan. I got this book because I liked the title and cover (image of a mens-room icon guy shooting himself in the head) and because page 69 starts like this:
on the too-high seat it felt like I was riding a slinky down a flight of uneven stairs. Only the front brakes worked so whenever I stopped short I was almost thrown over the handlebars, and the front brakes didn't work in the rain so I had to stop by dragging my feet on the ground like fucking Fred Flintstone.Pretty fun, but I kind of forgot to read it. Maybe I had a tiny intimation that it *probably* isn't my thing, but I never got far enough to find out. Soon I will give it another chance.
Peyton Place by Grace Metalious. I hoped this would be another big, juicy, trashy book like Valley of the Dolls, but it isn't. It's sordid and depressing. Oh, well.
Lay of the Land by Richard Ford. I got maybe a quarter or a third of the way through this before feeling awfully bogged down. I loved Independence Day, but the beginning of this novel is all driving around, and around, and around. JRL tells me it picks up shortly after I left off and becomes excellent, so I should definitely try again.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark. I enjoyed it for a while, but then it began to feel claustrophobic. I would certainly have finished it if I were on a plane or a bus, but since there were other books begging to be read...
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo. I bought this book to read to my kids, thinking that since it won the Newbery it couldn't be that bad. It is. It's dreadful. I stuck it out for four nights, and then I said, Kids, I can't take it anymore. It's a "romantic fairytale" about a mouse who falls in love with a princess, told in a smirky, winky, pleased-with-itself voice. I just didn't think you could write about princesses without acknowledging the essential lameness of the princess thing, but apparently you can.
Gosh. That's more than I thought...