You’re looking at the cover of this book, saying:  I loved this movie!

I’m looking at you, saying:  I loved this movie, too!  I’ve seen it twice.  Read the book anyway!

A ridiculous amount of reading goes on here in Carter Library, and I review books on this blog, yet I can’t remember the last time I wanted to shove a book into your hands and stand there, staring, until you started reading it.

I’ve started no less than a dozen books in the last month.  Some were recommended by people “in the know.”  A few got terrific — and I mean outstanding — reviews.  Others were smart mysteries.  I’m in the mood for a smart mystery.  The ones that have disappointed me most are big fat sagas.  Who doesn’t love a big fat saga in summer?

I’ve not gotten past the first 20 or 30 pages of any of them.


I did not borrow these books from the library.  I paid real money for them.

* double sigh *

And then came THE DESCENDANTS, a paperback that’s been resting quietly on the shelf in my living room, collecting dust.  No more.  Here are a few reasons I got up in the middle of the night and finished this great story at 3:30 a.m.

1.  You can’t possibly read the first page or two and put it down.

2.  In the first few pages, this smart writer makes you want to laugh and cry, and she sets up every main character and what’s at stake.  (yes, I know, this is supposed to be a given, but we all know it rarely happens)

3.  The first person narrator.  And as if that’s not enough, it’s told in the present tense.  The unreliable narrator.  How can I believe anything he says?!  The exhausting march of the present tense.  Slow the hell down already! 

4.  Number 3 is the only way to tell this story.  The narrator is unreliable not just to the reader, but to himself.  He trusts nothing he does.  And the narrative has a constant urgency to beat a clock, therefore the present tense.

5.  I saw the movie twice.  I said that.  I know how the story ends.  You know a story is special when you know how it ends and still want to read it anyway to, oddly, find out how it ends.


What’s the last book you couldn’t put down?