I have barely read any book reviews in the media this past year and all those lists being published right now about the Best Books of 2015 have left me cold. I have not added to a written To Be Read List. All year I have been overwhelmed with choice: the public library shelves, my own library, books on my Kindle, the library's ebook collection, used book sales...
The plan I have followed is that if a book shows up on my radar and piques my interest, and if I can get my hands on it, I read it. This is how I came to be reading The Folded Clock: A Diary by Heidi Julavits.
The title had me at Clock and Diary.
An image of a folded clock came to mind. It was the little travel clock that my father had. It was in a hard leather case that opened and revealed a clock face. The case and the clock formed its own freestanding triangle and would fit snugly on a bedside table. The clock had to be wound up with its little key on the back. It ticked. I loved it.
The accounts of the events in those two years are sometimes entertaining but sometimes her riffs spawned by the events are over-the-top neurotic. She seems to know a lot of people - other writers, film directors. She doesn't name drop but teases the reader with I-know-this-famous-person-but-I-am-not-going-to-tell-you-who-he/she-is. I found that annoying. Not because I don't want to miss out on celebrity gossip, but it seemed smug.
I have to tell you that although I am enjoying many of the stories that Ms. Julavits writes - her visit to E.B. White's grave; her attempts to read the French journals of the gossipy Goncourt brothers; her attendance at a party at Edith Wharton's house - I decided about a fourth of the way in that I didn't really like her.
I looked up her photo online thinking that might change my feelings toward her. It didn't.
I suppose that when reading someone's published diary, it is key to liking the diarist! Think E.M. Delafield (Diary of a Provincial Lady) or Virginia Woolf (A Writer's Diary).
I have been torn between wanting to let the book go because I don't care for the author or to continue reading it because some of the events that take place intrigue me.
The Folded Clock is on my Kindle as an ebook from the library and will expire in four more days. I guess I will let it.
Has this happened to you? You enjoy the book but wouldn't want to have coffee with the author? I would love to hear if you have had a similar experience.