Last week, I posted Part One of the ‘Try a Chapter Challenge’ and talked about the books I had chosen as part of the challenge. Thanks to the computer issues I spent most of my writing time dealing with, I’m writing the follow up later than I wanted to. Oops.
Anyway. Thanks to the wealth of time I spent hanging out and telling the new laptop to confirm and install updates and download apps, I got to all three of the books I picked out.
As a reminder, I chose Bellefleur by Joyce Carol Oates, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell, and The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
And the results?
Bellefleur by Joyce Carol Oates
Read to page 63
I’m not entirely sure what to think of this book. It’s about a once-wealthy family who retains their upper-class status despite the lack of money. Their vast mansion is crumbling, and many of the others who live in the area loathe them. The story wanders from character to character, explaining what they’re all about without seeming to find a plot. But I can’t deny the brilliant prose that can such a person right into it. It requires a lot of attention, though, as the sentences are often long and complex. The first sentence in the book, for example, is as long as an entire (and long) paragraph. I’m still not sure about the book, but I’m willing to give it some more time.
Verdict? I’m keeping this one. For now.
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
Read to page 20 or so.
I did not like this book. Not at all. The book opens with a horrific birth scene and then skips to Jacob de Zoet’s life as a clerk on a ship. I found it difficult to tell what character was talking, and overall it all felt very disjointed and hard to follow. It was also written present tense, which takes me a long time to get used to even when I’m enjoying a book. Given my failed attempt to read The Bone Clocks, I’m wondering if I DNF’ed it because I tried to read it during a stressful time of year, or if I just don’t like Mitchell’s writing.
Verdict: This one is going to the used bookstore. I didn’t like it, and I don’t want to keep it around.
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
Read to page 52
I liked this one! The dark, Victorian atmosphere appealed to me, and Pulley’s writing is elegant without verging on purple, and she is often subtly witty. I liked the main character and how very ordinary he was, and I’m interested in seeing how he gets wrapped up into the plot, and who left the mysterious pocket watch in his room to begin with.
Verdict: Definitely keeping this one.
So that was fun! I liked getting a taste of the books without feeling like I had to go farther in them than I did, and now I’ll have an extra space on my shelf for a book I’m more likely to read than The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. Plus, I’ll be moving a fun book higher up on my TBR– I’ll probably read the rest of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street in November or December.