Sunday, March 07, 2010

The Sunday Salon - A Hedgehog Bites the Dust

I love a hedgehog as much as anyone--possibly more than most--but sadly that isn't the case with Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog.

First, I have to say, I really like intellectual books. I like books with clever intertextual references that blend art and philosophy and lots of cool, smart stuff. Whenever I think of "smart" books I think of Siri Hustvedt and Paul Auster. Try Hustvedt's What I Loved on for some wicked psychological, artistic, brain churning goodness. There are also smart gimmicky books like Marisha Pessl's Special Topics in Calamity Physics which flex an intellectual muscle and manage to be fun or especially touching and affecting at the same time. I expected The Elegance of the Hedgehog to be something similar, but I didn't get far in enough to know before I wanted to shoot myself up with a lethal air bubble. Page 25 people. I couldn't go past page 25.

The problem I had with Barbery's book was simply some dislikable damn characters. They liked themselves A LOT. And I realize, after giving up at page 25, there was plenty of room for improvement, but given that I've been on something of a quick reading streak lately, I desperately did not want to beslump myself. I refuse to berate myself mentally for giving up on books anymore, so I tossed this one back into the library return and picked up my new holds.

Is The Elegance of the Hedgehog a bad book? I have no freakin' clue. I know I didn't read enough of it to pass judgment, but I do know that it's not the book for me right now.

Which book is for me right now?? Some YA, please! The Forest of Hands and Teeth, by Carrie Ryan, arrived at the 'brary for me, and I'm about to get offline and sink into the world of the Unconsecrated. In addition to laying books aside when they aren't tickling my reading toesies, another tactic for staying in a buoyant reading mood is switching genres often. I think this one might just keep me afloat.

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