Thursday, March 24, 2011
Anne and Betsy recently read Doomsday Book by Connie Willis for a teen book group (caveat: not necessarily a typical teen pick and definitely not a breezy read. Plenty of graphic descriptions of the Black Death in the middle ages. Cheery, no? On the other hand, they both loved the portrait of a noble priest and a number of other elements in the book; they're now pressing the book on me.)
I haven't read Doomsday Book yet, but I am currently reading Blackout by the same author. There are a number of things I enjoy about it, but as I told Anne, I'm getting a little impatient with some repetition. The plot revolves around time-traveling historians -- in this case, back to World War II. Things are wonky with both the travel destinations and the future's retrieval system, but I want Willis to get to the point. To repeatedly read, "She went to her drop and it wasn't open," and "Why hadn't the retrieval team arrived?" is getting tiresome.
"It's all so urgent," I told Anne, "because you know they need to get this stuff figured out. But because it's been repeated so much, it's not that compelling to read about it again and again."
"Well," replied Anne, "real life is like that -- urgent, but not compelling."
She's so right. I love that observation. Life too often feels urgent but not compelling.
On the other hand, I want my fiction to be better than my life, not just as stuttering. Still, I want to plow through, as I'm really enjoying all the historical details. I'll keep you posted.