Sometimes finishing is the point

I’m just about done with “My Legendary Girlfriend,” which I borrowed on the strength of its cover, an outstanding title typeface mixed with a photograph, nicely photoshopped, of an old rotary phone. A quick skim made it seem like it was along the lines of Nick Hornby, so I gave it a shot. And it’s perfectly readable, but the narrator appeals to me not at all, a twenty-six-year-old layabout just getting his first real job, pining over a girl who dumped him three years before. Pining. A lot. Constantly. (By twenty-six, I was going back to school to embark on my second career, while working 6-2 on the first one). But I had enough invested in it to bother finishing, which puts it right in league with the previous book I read, TC Boyle’s “Riven Rock.” Listen, folks, I need a good book next time, okay?
I just learned that Donna “Where the hell did the wunderkind disappear to?” Tartt has a second novel coming out. Not sure whether to be excited or not. I wanted to hate The Secret History because she was a plucky, photogenic Bennington grad who hit it big right out of school, but then I couldn’t resist reading it and it became one of my all-time favorite novels. No telling whether she can do it again, but I’m hopeful, because I liked her writing. I’ve also got Russo’s new collection, “The Whore’s Child,” but it’s a lot easier for a book of stories to satisfy than a novel, there are always bound to be two or three things that stand out. And I never even finished all the stories in Banks’s “Angel on the Roof.” But I’d like to find something as captivating as my earlier-in-the-year discoveries of Michael Chabon and Richard Ford, and not have to slog through another book just because I may as well find out if anything ever happens. (Answer: In “Girlfriend,” it doesn’t. Ditto “Riven Rock.”)

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