Sunday, October 15, 2006

Calamity book readings

A bad live reading by a novelist can kind of sour me on a new book. At the NYTimes' Great Read in the Park (Bryant, that is) this afternoon, we heard Marisha Pessl read from her first book, the amazingly titled Special Topics In Calamity Physics. Problem is, her excerpt was way too long, wasn't funny, and didn't draw us into the story the way two other authors who read before her did. Granted, these were more seasoned authors with many years of writing and promoting under their belts, but still. If you're going to go to the trouble to create such a unique website and cover for the book, would it hurt to coach her a little on how best to do these readings, which are after all smaller scale advertisements for her product? I'm not saying I won't eventually seek out Special Topics, but I certainly didn't return to the sales tent today and fork over the $25. Anyone already read it and can offer a quickie review in the comments?

4 comments:

Jaime said...

I'm in the process of reading it now - maybe 80 pages in? - and her storytelling skills are top notch. I can't say I'm thoroughly drawn in yet, or that her language is blowing me away, but I've heard that it takes a little while to get into this one. I can report back when I'm further along.

Jaime said...

I totally lied. 42 pages, when I wrote that. 59, after my bus was stuck in traffic this morning. It's slower going than it feels like. But it's still good. Just not entrancing yet.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed it. Some of the tics of the narrator are obnoxious at first, but once you really get going in the story the same things you found annoying work in the book's favor. It's really good in a trashy kind of way--an engrossing read

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why people are always giving this girl such a hard time... the book works great as a first novel... just read it and see for yourself