Reading Notes ~ First Novels

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I am on a good book roll. The last three books I’ve picked have been hits and all first-time authors. I’ve already mentioned The Gargoyle, which I thought was a great book until I read The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. I can’t believe I started it and then put it down and came back to it after reading three other books. It’s hard to write about books that I really enjoyed, but Edgar Sawtelle, was by far the best book I’ve read this year. While I was trying to write my review for my work blog Read This!, I started to read some of the reviews on Amazon and I got so annoyed. Most of the reviews were positive, but some of them complained about the book being too long or too slow and I have to wonder if it has to do with our societies total lack of patience. I too have complained about some thick books out there that could have used a little editing, but this was not one of them. I’m not sure what people were expecting, but I thought that the writing was beautiful and I was really invested in the characters particularly Edgar and his dog Almondine. I didn’t mind that it was long. I felt it was a book to be savored. I loved that there were so many ways of looking at the book: the dogs, dog-breeding, Edgar’s inability to speak, the mid-western landscape and of course the retelling of Hamlet. I would love to re-read Hamlet and then go back and re-read Edgar Sawtelle. I’m sure there were many things that I missed, but you could enjoy the book without having any knowledge of Hamlet whatsoever. It’s just another layer. Personally, I got so engrossed in the story, that I forgot about Hamlet until it was obvious. Sometimes I just don’t pay attention. The mother’s name is Trudy – as in Gertrude- as in Hamlet’s mother’s name. I won’t tell you how long it took me to make the connection on that one. As an unabashed dog person, I wonder if it would have as much appeal to non-dog people and I hope that it would. For those dog-people afraid to read this book – don’t worry – it’s not Old Yeller or Where the Red Fern Grows. I heard an interview with David Wrobleswki and he was talking about how he’s had a 7 year argument with his dog Lola regarding the doorbell. He thinks that whenever the doorbell rings it means that something good is about to happen and Lola thinks that it is proof that the siege she has been expecting is about to begin. I have had this argument with my dog Lola, too.

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2 thoughts on “Reading Notes ~ First Novels

    Jeane said:
    September 8, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    I love Hamlet. And I like reading about dogs. So I’m just going to have to go pick up this book!

    ta responded:
    September 9, 2008 at 12:31 am

    Well, I don’t want to boost your expectations, but I really liked this one. I hope you do, too. I’d be interested to see what you think.

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