Sunday, June 3, 2012

Emipre Fallls -- Richard Russo ---------------- 2.5 Stars

Like many things in life, the more you take part in something or try something, the better you get at understanding your own likes and dislikes.  Whether it's t.v., music, art, food... the more you try something, the easier it is to decide what style of something you do and don't like.  This is also quite true with books (not sure why this took me so long to realize).  In the last few years as my numbers of books read has increased, I am beginning to get a much better feel for what I personally enjoy reading the most.  In general, any non-fiction on a topic I like will work.  Fiction is more difficult.  I have decided, however, I am a big fan of action/something happening.  This is, perhaps, the biggest reason I struggled with Richard Russo's Empire Falls.

Empire Falls has incredible reviews, has one the Pulitzer, and pretty much everyone I know loves it; so how is it possible I disliked it?  Well, like many things, it's just a mater of taste.  The book is well written, nicely told, has great characters, solid questions about how to live one's life...all the things I normally like in a book.  BUT, nothing really ever happens.  I mean, somethings do, and some exciting stuff happens in pages 450-480, but for the most part, there ain't much going on besides just telling about people's every day lives.  Which, is cool and all, but I don't really like reading books to read about every day life... I see that all around me. Something amazing, spectacular, different, needs to happen.  In this case the 'amazing', tended to be things like, someone gets a divorce or people are mad at one another.  Overall, I just couldn't get into the novel as nothing was ever happening.

While I bash it for the most part, I definitely can see why people like it and why it was made an HBO miniseries (which I'd like to see and perhaps, if seen being acted out, might improve it for me).  But again, it's taste.  It's not you, it's me.  If you are interested in reading it, quick synopsis: story of Miles, who owns a small restaurant in small town Maine.  The story is about his family, parents, daughter, and their relationship with others including rich patrician types in the small city.  I would say, that's all you need to know and a bunch of stuff happens but that's just not true.  Very little happens but it's told well and you get into the characters.

For the most part, I usually do not recommend any books with less than 3 stars but as I said earlier, this book is adored by many and people's tastes are all different.  If you do like it though, you are going to have to explain to me how a book where nothing happens is entertaining to read.  Thanks.

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