11. The Lost Girls by Robert Kolker – True crime book about a possible Long Island serial killer targeting prostitutes/escorts in the mid 2000s, who is still not caught. He goes into the stories about each of the girls found buried on a beach in burlap, and the girl whose disappearance led to the discovery of the bodies.
12. I am, I am, I am – Maggie O’Farrell – A memoir told in stories of brushes with death. Another book from a list of books to read, and I don’t remember why it intrigued me. The initial story hooked me, but not remembering what the book was going to be about, I thought it was going in a very different direction. Regardless, it was an enjoyable read, although it seems like Maggie has had a stressful life with all these brushes with death.
13. The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr – A YA novel about a teen girl with amnesia who kisses a boy and suddenly can remember that one event. At first it seemed like it might be kind of lame and just a romance, but it’s not. It’s sad, it’s sometimes annoying because it’s repetitive (because she can’t make new memories, and it’s told from her perspective she has to “remind” herself of what’s happening), and it’s got a bit of a twist that I wasn’t expecting. I enjoyed it. It’s a fairly quick read, and worth a shot.
14. Beautiful You by Chuck Palahniuk – Oh God where to start with this? Chuck quickly became my favorite author after seeing Fight Club and the mindfuck it provided. I bought the book (which is very close to the movie), then Invisible Monsters, which utterly blew my mind. I wrote him a letter, because these were the days when his address was still available through one of his fan pages. And he wrote back! What? Amazing. I bought Survivor and read it in a day, also fantastic. I was caught up on his books at that point, and eagerly anticipated more of his work, and I bought and read every one the day they came out. I told myself I liked them, but if I’m honest, every one after that got worse and worse. Or was more and more of the same – the theme of salvation through self destruction. Then I got to Haunted, which was terrible. It was the first one I truly admitted that I did not enjoy. But still, I bought each book on release day and read them ASAP. Underwhelming book after underwhelming book I finally stopped buying them, and started on ebooks from the library. The first one I didn’t buy was Tell All. And I was so glad I didn’t pay money for that one. It’s an intriguing story, if you’ve never seen that EXACT SAME PLOT on THE SIMPSONS! Seriously. If the recycled plot didn’t bother you, the writing style would. It was just not good. Doomed and Damned were both fairly decent, and I though they redeemed him a bit. But they didn’t make me continue, or return to being a rabid fan, and I really stopped following any future releases.
A friend recently mentioned him, which led us to looking up what he was doing and I saw he had a book called Beautiful You from a few years ago. To the library I went. I did not know the premise of the book, though I did see someone say the twist blew their mind. I was going in blind, but the first scene – a woman in a court room, where there are no other women because they’ve all dropped out of society – was interesting! I like post apocalyptic stories, women issues are huge right now, maybe this will be a fantastic look at society. Wrong. It turns out it’s a story about a man creating a line of sex toys to enslave women around the world. A story about female pleasure, written by a gay man, who seems to hate women. As a straight woman, I would never deign to write anything about men’s pleasure, especially not gay men’s pleasure, because I know nothing about it. And neither does Chuck. Assuming he researches what he’s going to write about, who did he speak to about orgasming someone to death? He clearly read an anatomy text book, but beyond that, the 200 pages of pleasuring women to near death is just absurd. Because yes, this thin line of plot could be condensed into 50 pages among 200 of unnecessary garbage. And it’s not even sexy smut garbage. It’s just stupid. And maybe it’s nit picky, but you know what’s also stupid? The main character climbing a Himalayan mountain, to find the sex guru, unassisted – and then have the mountain turn out to be Everest. Because yeah, that’s totally possible and extremely likely. And even more proof Chuck knows nothing about women – the main character puts on lingerie, and while her boyfriend who she is going to anally sodomize for no real reason is climbing the stairs, she has time to curl her eyelashes, WAX HER LEGS, and dab perfume behind her ears. SO REALISTIC! And while it’s amusing to think of men burning sex toys in Yankee Stadium, and sure, maybe some of them would explode, but some of them turning into rockets shooting through the NY sky and making it look like a war zone…stupid. Then the twist, because every book he writes has a twist ending, is not even interesting. I’m sure some pretentious lit major could make some argument about how it’s some amazing post modern look at blah blah blah bullshit, but in sum, this book is trash, and should not be read by anyone. I officially declare Chuck to no longer be my favorite author, and I doubt I’ll read anything else he releases.
In Progress: October