April 23rd, 2008

beachy

"My Legendary Girlfriend" by Mike Gayle

As I mentioned a bit back, huskyteer sent me a copy of My Legendary Girlfriend, by Mike Gayle, on the grounds that it probably qualified as the kind of thing I was referring to when bemoaning the absence of Dude Lit. In which regard, she was right, actually. :) It's quite the internet pal who'll mail you a book all the way across the Atlantic.

Anyway, I finished it last night. Although it was something of a rough start (or perhaps I'm just an impatient reader), it finally picked up about 2/3 of the way through, and was actually quite engaging by the end. If it had been that engaging all the way through it would have been an excellent book. As it was, I can only give it a rating of a "pretty good" book in clear conscience, but with the caveat that it was the writer's first novel.

The impression I got was that Gayle had a nice, solid ending, but didn't really have a beginning or middle to go with it, if you see what I mean. As for plot, there's almost zero -- a guy who's still heartbroken about being dumped spends the anniversary weekend of it three years later making a lot of phone calls, engaging in a lot of self-pity, acting like a massive slob around the house, and generally being pathetic, until he very suddenly grows a spine and goes through a series of rapid-fire relationship changes that conveniently turn into a happy ending for most of the cast. (Hope that doesn't spoil it for you!)

Basically, the first 2/3 of the book read like Gayle is stalling. There are a lot of anecdotes about the narrator's daily activities, his childhood, reminiscences about the girl who dumped him, a variety of other girls from his past, and his one male friend. There's a lot of bitching about his crummy apartment. And so on. There is foreshadowing and plot-building mixed in to all this, but a lot of it seems to just be put in to round it out from 20,000 words to 60,000 words so that you'll have an investment in the characters by the time you reach the end of the book.

Unfortunately, the time to get your reader invested in the book is "as close to the beginning as you can arrange it," not "just before the book ends," because only the most dedicated (or entertainment-starved) reader is likely to stick it out that long.

But, as I say, it was the author's first novel. The fact that it did get good by the end gives me hope that maybe his other books improve as he gets more experience. He's got something like five other books, including a new one due out later this year, and I expect I'll check them out when I get the chance to see if he manages in future to jump right to the good part and stay there for the course of the book.

Thanks, huskyteer! :)

-The Gneech
beachy

Artspots/Jaxpad Pics of the Indeterminate Time Period

'Journey - Cant Repeat' by Shade
'Journey - Cant Repeat' by Shade

Nicely moody piece.

'Earth day' by mirta
'Earth day' by mirta

I suspect that the only thing worse for conservation than "Earth Day" is Captain Planet and the Planeteers. Nevertheless, there is something wonderfully surreal about the idea of giving a birthday cake to a giant Pac-Man-shaped Earth.

'Stranded in California' by Tigris
'Stranded in California' by Tigris

A charming and engaging period pic with a unique art style. Bonus points for the Buster Keaton ref.

-The Gneech
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Kero asleep

Quick Post Before Bedtime

The windows are all in, and I must say they look very nice. :) Unfortunately, none of our blinds, including the $300 custom ones for my studio window, are useable now as the trim is too different. Le sigh! The french doors covering the sliding doors in the back also came down, but whether they'll go back up or not has yet to be determined. If I were a betting man, I'd put my money on "not," however, which means we'll probably be wanting coverings for those, too. (Maybe we shoulda gone with the ones with the blinds built in.)

Also, Bruce is home. $1400 worth of service, but that's still cheaper than buying a new car.

Also also, Buddha's rabies booster is tomorrow, along with a general checkup. The hairball symptoms have greatly subsided, so we're hoping that's no longer an issue.

Finally, I got Friday's SJ to katayamma this evening, so hopefully the trend of strips being up on the advertised date will now continue. Barring unforeseen difficulties, there should be a nice solid run for both strips coming up.

That's all for now. G'nite world, and have an awesome tomorrow. :)

-The Gneech