Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Paris in Love with a Short Attention Span

So I just finished reading Paris in Love, by Eloisa James. And it's just bugging the hell out of me.

For one thing, she's got a great marriage, and that title just screams single woman, so I feel a little cheated right there. But that's okay, I loves me some Paris, so there was lots to enjoy. Except the format.

Now, I hate to bash another writer, especially one who teaches at my alma mater (though I never took one of her classes). But. She states in the beginning that the book is based on her Facebook notes (oh, spare me) and tweets posted during her year living in Paris. And that she mostly kept the short, choppy format. Saints preserve us. 

Now, I get that she and her publisher are trying a thing here. And they may be on to something, I guess. Apparently, scientists say that we can remember blog posts better than novels. But scientist say a lot of things, so let's not overhaul the modern novel just yet.

It's one thing to snack on tweets, blog posts and FB notes (is that really what people do instead of blog? Is it even a thing, really?) throughout the day. But when I pick up a book (on the subway, on the couch at the end of the day) I'm ready for a meal. I get that she's playing with new modes of communication and not just being sloppy to meet a deadline. But this reads like one of those trivia books meant to be read on the toilet, a couple of pages at a time. 

It's especially infuriating when encountering multiple snippets on the same subject that could've been reorganized into something more cohesive. It's not good when a modest, fledgling author such as myself is revising your book while reading it.

I lived in Paris for 4 months and I've been back several times, so I can't honestly say if it was her writing or my love of the city that kept me reading to the end. 

It really worked when Jennifer Egan put a PowerPoint presentation into a novel because she was suggesting that in fifteen years, teens will be using PowerPoint for their private journals. It was mind-blowing, though it meant that the ebook version was useless because the PowerPoint section was too small to read.

I really hope we get more innovation in books, but I'm not looking forward to more Twitter memoirs.

Eloisa James does write of visiting several of Paris' lesser museums with such appreciation that I'm inspired to check out some of NYC's more obscure offerings. So let's see if I manage to make that happen in the coming months.

Read anything interesting lately?


  1. Finished reading the book version of the movie "The Princess Bride." The woman who lent it to me said, read it, even if you've seen the movie--and she was so right. It's a great read with lots of timeline-switching and subplots that aren't in the movie. I was sceptical but I really enjoyed it.

  2. The audiobook of the Princess Bride is read by Rob Reiner. Classic!


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