Saturday, November 01, 2008

I'm glad we're trying new and original things, but...

I read the first four chapters of Bryan Trent's Remembering Hypatia: A Novel of Ancient Egypt. And, well...

I just couldn't convince myself this was taking place anywhere near ancient Egypt. I felt like I was reading a modern story dressed up in hokey period costume.



Now, that alone wouldn't make me reject the story. After all, I like Errol Flynn's Robin Hood -- silk tights in Sherwood Forest and all. But in this case, the characters and their situation didn't hook my interest enough to make me want to overlook the questionable trappings and keep reading. Not when I was tempted by a pile of other books on my nightstand that I'd so much rather be reading, like Girls of Riyadh,
Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing up Iranian in America and American in Iran, and The Bookseller of Kabul. (The last one won out, and now I'm in the thick of it -- I hate to put it down even to write).

Then, of course, I feel like I'm being a really bad sport here, favoring my own weird taste over other people's taste. Especially since I just got done asking the group to read The Flight of Peter Fromm, which many N.L. members found weird or annoying. Now I feel like (when it was my turn) I should have gone with my earlier idea of asking the group to read Contact, by Carl Sagan. I rejected that idea as "too obvious," but maybe I should occasionally go with the obvious choice.

Anyway, I gave it a (half-hearted) try. If many of the other Nonbelieving Literati like Remembering Hypatia, I'll try again and finish it...

6 comments:

The Ridger, FCD said...

Don't finish it on my account. I thought it was very badly written indeed. I so wanted to like this book - the first time I tried to read it. I finished it, but it was a waste of reading time.

Ordinary Girl said...

Your instinct is correct about Remembering Hypatia. Don't finish it.

I also wondered if I over thought my choice of books with The Sparrow. But it's not really about liking the book. And besides, I still have a post inspired by The Flight of Peter Fromm that I have yet to write.

the chaplain said...

I think I found Remembering Hypatia more entertaining than you, Ridger and OG did, but it certainly is not great literature. It's not even Ludlum-level literature (which is a pretty low threshold).

Don't fret over your selection of Peter Fromm. I found that book stimulating even though I was frustrated with Peter's final position. Literati books need not always be entertaining. Sometimes it's more important to be challenged than entertained.

JulieAnn said...

How the hell do things like this get published?? Of course, some people may wonder that about MY book, so I'll tread lightly here....LoL

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Ridger!!!

Even from the few chapters I read, I tend to agree...

Hey O.G!!!

I can't wait to see that one!!! :D

Hey Chaplain!!!

Thanks -- I hope that one was a worthwhile challenge! :D

Hey JulieAnn!!!

It's not published by a major publishing house. I think there's some great indie stuff out there, but it can sometimes be a bit of a crap shoot...

the chaplain said...

Julieann - iUniverse is a company that enables authors to self-publish. The authors pay upfront for some publishing and promotional services, then hope to recoup costs and maybe even make a bit of cash, from the book sales. In my experience, books from iUniverse tend to be better than those from some other self-publishing outfits. As C.L. noted, though, it's still quite a crap shoot (and I have no idea how to shoot craps).