Tag Archives: boring

Luminous Airplanes by Paul La Farge

Luminous Airplanes by Paul La Farge (unabridged audiobook read by Charles Carroll; 8.25 hrs on 7 discs): A 30-year-old man returns from what sounds a little like the Burning Man festival to learn that his grandfather has died and he missed the funeral. It’s the end of the 20th century and the internet bubble has burst. Facing dwindling employment in San Francisco, he journeys to the tiny town of Thebes, NY, to clean out his late grandfather’s house, where he spent his summers growing up. While he’s there he runs into childhood friends, reminisces about San Francisco of the mid-1990s, goes on about a strange homeless man named Swan, obsessively tries to dig up every scrap of information about the father who died before he was born, and generally lazes about. And that’s about it.

Alas, this book is pretty tremendously boring. For a while I was blaming the reader, whose repetitive cadence was awkward and unnatural, but I really think that’s only part of the problem. The bigger issue is that I simply could not sympathize with any of the characters. I don’t have daddy issues; I’ve never abandoned my family; I’m not a nymphomaniac; I think going through somebody else’s things is great fun; I don’t do drugs; I am not in a doomsday cult. In short, I did not care. I listened to the whole thing anyway, hoping that the plot would show up in the end. It didn’t.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

Beowulf & Grendel

Beowulf & Grendel: I read Beowulf, or at least part of it, during school at some point, though my memory of it is pretty vague. Basically I remember that there’s this badass dude named Beowulf, he fights a troll named Grendel, kills him, and later on has to face Grendel’s mom too. There’s a bunch of talk about gods and monsters and OMG-Beowulf-is-so-awesome, and that’s about all I can recall. I have not seen the more recent film adaptation (the one where Grendel is played by George McFly – wait, what?), but this one’s been sitting on the shelf for years so I decided to pull it out. Here, King Hrothgar kills Grendel’s dad, Grendel grows up into some kind of Neanderthal and starts attacking Hrothgar’s Nordic village, Beowulf and his Scottish men show up to help out, Beowulf befriends a snarky Canadian witch, and the whole thing is just hellaciously boring. Seriously, nothing happens for about the first two thirds of the film, except for Grendel wandering around yelling incoherently and the Danes and Geats getting drunk together and using a lot of very modern swear words. I might have found Hrothgar’s attempts to worship the right gods funnier had I been able to follow it better, but to be honest after a while one grizzled old white dude with gnarly red hair starts looking much like another. Pretty much all of the fantasy elements have been stripped out, save Grendel’s mom, who shows up randomly for one of the briefest and most anti-climatic climatic battle scenes I’ve ever seen. Seriously, this thing was so boring it didn’t even make good background noise while I cleaned. Why do I own this?

The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz

The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz: Koontz books are many things – exciting, amusing, preachy, absurd, creepy, fun – but never boring. This book, alas, is boring. The Koontz staples are there – magical dogs, blameless Catholics, bad people with no motive other than being Pure Evil – but they’re all just a bit too yawn-worthy in this story. The baddies spend too much of their time demonstrating how bad they are, from killing strangers for sport to abusing a child with Down’s Syndrome, and very little time having distinguishable personalities. The only time I felt any emotional connection to the story whatsoever was when a dog died, but I always cry when animals die, so that’s not saying much. I’m starting to think Mr. Koontz and I need to break up. Or maybe I should just stick with his older stuff.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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