After a valiant effort to get through "Reading Lolita in Tehran," I have thrown up my hands and given up. I hate leaving books unfinished, especially ones that I have purchased rather than borrowed. Once I start it, I feel the need to finish it even if it starts trundling down Lame Street or I reach the "okay, I get it, but there are still xyz chapters left" point. However, there are some books that irritate me to the point that I have to let them go. If I don't put them away, I feel obliged to plod on, getting more and more annoyed, until eventually, I don't read anything at all. That happened with "Brick Lane" and it happened here too. I kept wanting to give it a chance, but the author's voice was grating on my nerves, her smug attitude was unattractive, and her writing style just rubbed me the wrong way. It's gotten to the point that I feel if ever I were to meet the author, I might not like her as a person. Nor her rabid fans. Especially this one. I don't know if I can fully articulate how little regard I hold for this book (although I still find the concept behind it a good one).

Yesterday, I put that book away (can you tell how frustrated with it I am that I don't even want to link it here when normally I am a linkaholic?) and started another: The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios by Yann Martel - the author of Life of Pi. Ahhhhhh. So much better. Yes, it is fiction rather than fact; a collection of short stories rather than a lengthy memoir. Perhaps not "politically important" as that book has been marketed, but it is so much more enjoyable. A balance of humor and pathos. Clever but not bombastic. Gripping and nuanced. Now, that's what I'm talking about. I feel so relieved after escaping the shackles of that other book that I may be giving this one too much credit, but I can't help it. I feel free. I feel unfettered. The thrill of reading has returned. Look at me! I'm on top of the world!

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