OK, My wife tells me I have done a great injustice to Anne Rice because I just about dismissed pretty well all her novels after "INTERVIEW". I reminded her that I was concentrating mainly on vampires in the review, but this small bit of information went unheeded to my wife's concerns. I am to report that Anne Rice's THE WITCHING HOUR plus SERVANT OF THE BONES (I didn't read these, ahem) are truly remarkable, groundbreaking novels on witches where Rice works her magic in exceptional prose on themes mostly grazed over by other authors. OK? There you have it.
However, this constructive conversation with my wife led her to propose that we have a talk. I mean a "Talk", one of those we-got-to-go-over-a-few-things talk. I filled my favourite blue cup with fresh Java Blend organic coffee, sat down, and awaited this seemingly important discussion. It went this way:
Wife: Bernie, listen to me. You can't review books on your blog when you haven't read them.
Bernie: Oh sure I can.
W: No you can't!
B: Yesss I can.
W: OK, put it this way: You shouldn't review books on your blog that you haven't read.
B: How so?
W: I think it would be obvious. If people are reading your blog and want to read a particular book, and you tell them it's crap, and all along you haven't read it...well, it's not a reliable source, is it? I mean, it's like telling someone a movie is no good when you haven't seen it.
B: Oh I can do that too.
W: Oh dear.
B: What books did I review that I didn't read?
W: Well, you dismissed Anne Rice's books beyond "INTERVIEW", THE SHACK, Pretty well most of Margaret Atwood.
B: Yeah well, she had it coming.
W: Most of the books in Canada Reads. Tell me then, how do you rationalize this dubious review technique?
B: Well, I've been reading books for 60 years...
W: You weren't reading novels when you were 2 years old now.
B: Yes. My parents never read to me, so I joined the Book-Of-The-Month Club.
W: (laughs) Go on.
B: There are books that are just crap, you know them, you can smell them. They are usually the ones that soar up the best-seller list in all their effluence. They have words in their titles like: butterflies, angels, unicorns, heart, Jennifer, wings/doves things,...
W: Yeah, yeah, go on.
B: These books are not literature. They follow certain proven formats that attempt usually successfully to appeal to people's sentimentality. Over-sweetened, as it were. You have to be wary of them, they're everywhere, and can strike at any time. You have to be vigilant at all times else you become ensconced in sticky goo. Ugh.
W: And that's a bad thing?
B: Oh yeah! And in these books it's imperative to have a kid, and even better if the kid is somehow different and has an uphill battle going on. Or the poor soul who has lost everything and finds solace in his cat. That sort of thing. And other books are just not good, not good at all. You can tell they're rushed by reading the first ten pages. I guess I don't have any patience with books like those anymore. I've read my fill.
W: OK. Anything else?
B: Do you want to go out for dinner?
That was it. Now that that's behind us we'll move on to Danielle Steele's many novels which I have not read, and trash them. What do you say?