Sunday, September 23, 2007

Just Like a Real Reviewer

Well, so far I haven't received any free books from the folks at LibraryThing (although they promise that October will bring more opportunities than ever before), but I did get one from the First Look book club at Barnes and Noble. Truthfully, I had forgotten that I signed up for that, so I was puzzled, then delighted to open my copy of The Monsters of Templeton, by first-time novelist Lauren Groff. It's an Advanced Reading Copy, or ARC as they say in the reviewing biz, in the form of a trade paperback with very rough-cut pages.

The cover is beautiful and has already generated much buzz on the discussion group site. It's done in black and white with red accents, some parts of it embossed; the style reminded one of the artists I work with of a German papercutting folk art called scherenschnitte. I stopped periodically while I was reading to look at it; the more I read, the more I saw.

I devoured the book in about 3 days. I'm still considering my full review, and will probably go back and reread part or all of it before I write. But I'll say for now that Groff's prose style is mature and gorgeous at times, the characters are for the most part well realized, the situation is interesting; but I had some problems with the construction of the story and I thought it went off the rails toward the end.

Nevertheless, I have to say that getting this book thrilled me down to my toes. It's just as though somebody really cared what I had to say.

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