Usually I try to read books (and see movies) knowing as little as possible about them before I plunge in. With book #10, The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, I went in with a lot of baggage -- the book has been a bijallion-seller, it's been praised and denounced seemly-endlessly. We discussed it, on a tangent, at my old bookgroup. From all that information, I wasn't anticipating that I'd like the book, but my boss had a copy laying around in his office and I told I should give it a chance. And besides, if I'm reading fifty books, I can sacrifice one or two to keeping up with the zeitgeist. So I cleared my mind and tried to give it an unbiased read.
Dear Lord I hated that book.
I think it was the unrelenting mediocrity. I mean, I've seen worse books, but they were either just incoherent, or at least bold in their terribleness. My bookgroup had said that it was, at least, a compelling read, but I think that was just the endless, forced cliffhangers at the end of every. single. chapter. Bleh. Bleck. I had a bad taste in my mouth when I finally finished.
I decided to cleanse my pallette with Scott Westerfeld's The Risen Empire. I've been enjoying Westerfeld's young adult fiction, so I thought I'd give his adult science fiction a try. I succeeded in going into the book with knowing anything about it -- I didn't even read the blurb on the back. And it was delightful -- it's a space opera about the clash of interstellar civilizations. The one problem, it turns out, is that it is, again!, a huge book chopped in two for publishing reasons. So now I have two more second-halves of stories to read.