So what do these two things have to do with one another? A glass rooster with an awkwardly placed spigot and a best-selling writer’s chapter opening?
Well, with the glass rooster, when the Good Witch saw it, she couldn’t stop laughing. “I want that rooster,” she said, until she noticed the $99 price tag (marked down, the store claimed, from $249). I kind of thought it might be a chicken, but I don't know my poultry. When I asked G.W. what she’d do with such a remarkable item, she told me, “I’d load that bird with lemonade, then watch people’s faces when they twisted the spigot to fill their plastic carry cups.”
Now I want one, too. Once it gets reduced to $19.99 – and it will get reduced to $19.99 – I can’t wait to show it to Glynn. Then I’ll fill it with lemonade and invite G.W. to the house for a barbeque.
Now about that best-selling writer….
I’m a big fan…or, maybe, I only used to be. His last book was a monster-sized volume that I picked up a few weeks ago. It might not have been his latest, last book but it was the most recent one I’d purchased. Okay, if you must know, I’d been waiting for the paperback to come out. (For those keeping store: Hardcover edition, $22.38. Digital, $9.99. Paperback, $7.49.) As budget-conscious as I am, I only made it through a quarter of the novel before I gave it away.
So what makes a cheapskate give away a paperback she’s been eager to read? A not very good novel. The book was long, nearly 600 pages, but I have no trouble with long. This is a woman who loved The Stand, v. 1 and, with version 1 still in the bookcase, picked up expanded v. 2.
The paperback had too many chapters for my liking but that’s become a thing that writers do, breaking long sections into short, ever since James Patterson decided a single page could count as a chapter. Or maybe it’s the editors or the publishers or the booksellers who are demanding more and MORE and MORE chapters per book to fulfill readers’ expectations. Kind of the literary equivalent of, “The food wasn’t very good and there wasn’t enough of it”, from what I can see. The words aren’t very interesting but, by gum, you’ll never be able to tell others that you didn’t get enough chapters!
Note to self: Add more chapters into next novel.
No, what I didn’t like was that not enough happened in too many pages. There was a great deal of description, pages of introspection, and segments where I thought my past fav was simply showing off. He could have written, “The wind was blowing and the skies were clear” but he was too much of a wordsmith for that. He needed to strut a little. He needed to show off. He did a wonderful job of it; I only wish I could write that well. But as a reader? I wanted my story to progress. I didn’t want to be distracted by blather (forgive me, past fav), I wanted to know what happened next.
At the 150 page mark, the story had barely begun – or, if there was hidden depths to what I’d read, I’d missed it. I was simply too disappointed to spend another 400 pages to get to the end of the tale so I gave the volume away.
Three days ago, I picked up one of his older books. It was published in 1993, was significantly shorter in page count than the latest stuff, and I had fond memories of it. I wanted to remember the “old” writer, the one I loved. This novel was divided into parts and chapters, and I enjoyed it once again. Not that the wordsmith wasn’t present, even then. Part One, Chapter Eight began, In Kansas City, a chill wind polishes the night until the sky seems to be an infinite slab of clear crystal in which stars are suspended and behind which is pent a vast reservoir of darkness.
For a sentence masquerading as a paragraph, not bad. The problem was, it took me out of the story. Like a glass rooster with an unfortunate spigot placement, it made me stop and admire what it’s maker had done, like it or not.
Or maybe that’s just me.