Books #52 and 54 of this year were the second and third in the Selection series: The Elite and The One, by Kiera Cass. I hated this series, and I'm really not sure why I kept reading it. It's kind of like The Hunger Games series except without the killing, but the Selection is in its own way as barbaric. All of these girls competing for the prince's affections, and struggling with deception and jealousy, made me anxious and miserable. I hated the whiplash-inducing mood swings of the main character, America. I'm not even sure why I was so drawn into these characters' dilemmas, since I didn't find any of the characters compelling or believable. Thankfully these were library books, so I didn't spend any money on them.
Book #53 was Committed: A Love Story, by Elizabeth Gilbert. This was the only book in this post that I liked. Elizabeth Gilbert overanalyzes and overthinks as much as I do, which is saying a lot. In this book she is trying to convince herself that it's OK for her to get married. The guy she fell in love with at the end of Eat, Pray, Love gets arrested and deported (though she keeps saying that's not the official word for what happens to him), and the only solution is to regularize the paperwork and then immediately get married. But both have sworn never to remarry after going through painful divorces, and they must come to terms with marriage as an institution. Gilbert's boyfriend comes to terms with the idea in a few minutes, but Gilbert must fret endlessly for over three hundred pages. My favorite parts of this book were the places where Gilbert talked to people of different cultures about their experiences with marriage. Once again, I found her narrative voice to be fun and interesting, and even though I have been married since practically the moment I became an adult, I could very much relate to her compulsive need to research everything within an inch of its life. It's exhausting to be us, eh, Liz?
Book #55 made me anxious for different reasons from the Selection series. This book, The Objects of Her Affection, by Sonya Cobb, is about Sophie Porter, who gets in all kinds of trouble with her mortgage and with her pesky little habit of stealing objects from the museum where her husband works as a curator. Oh Sophie, I kept thinking, please just tell the truth; this is not going to end well. Ugh, stressful.
This is not a time in my life to be reading stressful books. I'm having enough whiplash-inducing mood swings myself without reading about the ones other people are dealing with. I decided to read Pride and Prejudice again (probably I'm heading into the double digits for the number of times I've read this book). Even though there are plenty of mood swings in this book, plenty of misunderstandings, plenty of difficulties, I know that everything is going to work out. Right now that feels very appealing to me. This was the second book I read after the post-earthquake period when I couldn't read at all. (The first was The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.) I found it soothing then (predictable and no earthquakes), and I hope it won't fail me this time.
This post is linked to the April 16th Saturday Review of Books.
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