Monday, August 30, 2010

Biography Badness

And when I say "badness," I mean the kind that actually is bad, not the kind that is good. I've tried to read two biographies this year. I have still not finished either of them. I usually only read one book at a time and I seldom give up on a book. I've now read several other books while still not finishing the two biographies. Ugh!

The first was inspired by watching Julie & Julia. I thought Julie was a narcissistic windbag, but I was intrigued by Julia. I wanted the whole story so I picked up Appetite for Life. That woman lived a fascinating life.That is, until you drag out the telling of it into 592 pages. There are books about the entire history of the modern world that are written in fewer pages. Worse yet, it started getting tedious before I'd even gotten 50 pages into the book. At almost halfway, I've given up. I'll just have to enjoy the fact that I have an idea of what happens next, because I won't be finishing this book.

The second biography I picked up was Pearl Buck in China. I loved The Good Earth and knew that Pearl Buck had lived in China, so it would have to be interesting. At least it's only 320 pages, so it's not quite as drawn out as Julia Child's biography, but I think it was written by a literary critic. It reads to me more like a dissertation than a novel and I really want a good story to latch onto. There are so many opportunities in the material, but it just never happens. I'm afraid, now that Pearl is living in the US again, that I've lost interest. I won't be finishing this one either.

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