Late to the party, as usual.

What is it about me? As soon as I see that something is really, really popular, I kind of sneer to myself and ignore it. There was this book people were talking about, and I kept hearing about it from my friends who keep up with all things England, and that book was something Harry Potter.  Does that sound at all special to you? Nor me. And the more I heard about it, the more I ignored it. Then it was a huge best seller in the US and that kind of sealed the deal. No way was I interested in whatever “trendy” bandwagon everybody was hopping on.

Oh hush.

It has happened many times, whether it’s television shows or books or movies. (Oh, did I mention how long I held out before I finally went to that movie I knew I’d hate, that one called Star Wars? I mean, how silly is that?)

I got on the Twilight bandwagon early, if you count reading the first book when it was new. But I kind of missed the “bandwagon” part, if you count the “couldn’t remember if I’d read it or not” by the time the third one came out.

It’s happening again, I’m pretty sure.  Everybody in the world has read The Hunger Games and now the movie is coming out, and I know–KNOW–that if I ever actually read the books I’ll be just like everybody else, telling anybody who will listen, YOU HAVE TO READ THESE BOOKS.

All that said–right now I’m listening to the audiobook, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.  I’d seen it here and there, mentioned everywhere, popping up on various best seller lists, but I ignored it.

Then one of my students told me it was set in England. That got my attention.

Two days ago I started listening to it.

I’m in love.

I am in love with “eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison.”  She has stolen my heart.  And did I mention she lives in an old pile of a Tudor manor house with her eccentric, grieving father and two older sisters, and a shell-shocked chauffeur/gardener/man-of-all-trades who sometimes flashes back to war so that Flavia has to [figuratively] cover his back until he feels safe again?

And that she finds a dying man in the cucumber patch, who breathes his last word into her face before expiring?

By the way, the reader, Jayne Entwhistle, is a delight.

This is one of those books that is so wonderful, with this turn of phrase, that use of language–that I am going to buy it in hardcover to put in my personal library of favorites.

Yes, it’s that kind of book.

[Oh decisions, decisions, which one? The green US edition or the UK edition? No contest. I want the UK spellings on this one, I think.  Sorry, just talking to myself here.]

I’m late to the party on this one, but better late than never.

Have you read it?  Or The Hunger Games? Have you ever resisted something that seemed too trendy, only to discover that it was worth the hooplah?

Or is it just me?




Filed under Books, Building My Library, England, Reading

5 responses to “Late to the party, as usual.

  1. Sarah Bewley

    I adore Flavia DeLuce! I’ve now listened to all the books in the series. I started them in 2011. I, like you, wondered why the hell I waited so long!

    The audiobooks are fantastic. You should listen to them as well as read them.

    • That’s what I’m doing now, listening to the first audiobook. And I just now ordered the hardcover from England. The funny thing is that I got it cheap (only 60 pence) from an American bookseller, but they charged me the shipping that I’d pay for a UK seller to ship to me. No bargain, there! But that’s okay. I can’t wait to “read” as well as listen!

  2. denise

    I read all the LITTLE HOUSE books when I was a kid, but I’ve missed the bandwagon on TWILIGHT and THE HUNGER GAMES. We have the complete Harry Potter series and I think my 15yob is the only one who has red them all completely.

    I’m am about 1/3 through LA DESPERADA, though. 🙂

  3. Jennifer

    Hunger Games probably IS that good. I just can’t deal with the whole “Battle Royale” government-makes-you-slaughter-other-kids plot idea. I don’t know why because I used to read Anita Blake books, for fuck’s sake, and I’m not usually so delicate. My cousin-in-law, who does not strike me as particularly into that sort of thing, read them and was all, “Isn’t that your thing to read those?” Good point. And even worse, I’ve read the markreads summaries online of the entire plot of all 3 books. So I pretty much know what’s going on– just didn’t read the actual books themselves. I’m curious about them. I just…ergh…I kinda want to read them and kinda don’t. But at least they sound worth the hype, which Twilight does NOT. I got bored of that one very quickly and don’t get the appeal.

    Speaking of trendy, I resisted reading the His Dark Materials series for similar reasons to Hunger Games, i.e. I can’t deal with a plot element (in this case, I heard how it ended). And I eventually caved and read it anyway. I’ll probably do that with Hunger Games too, who am I kidding?

    • I listened to the Dark Materials trilogy. I didn’t love it, and actually hated a couple of things about it. When your kid protagonists have a pretty sinister goal thrust upon them, one that is going to upset a lot of readers/people when they find out, I think it’s really dishonest to wait and reveal it in the second book rather than at the end of the first.

      But mainly, elements of the magic didn’t work for me–use a knife and hold your mouth just right to cut between one world and the next. I dunno, it just didn’t work for me on several levels, and then to top it off, Pullman seemed like an arrogant guy who compared himself to CS Lewis and others. Well, I never could get into Narnia so never read it, either–but at least Tolkein, Lewis, Rowling and others who have written Christian allegory wrote tales that could be appreciated w/o even knowing there was allegory present. Pullman hit you over the head with it.

Hit me with it.

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