Monday, May 09, 2016

April: 30 Days, 7 Books Part 3


As much as I enjoyed my April reads, I simply must finish this list. Get thee behind me, April! Or is that a bad thing to say??? Never mind. I'll sort it out after I make brief remarks about these last two books.

Strangers on a Train - Patricia Highsmith. (novel) I audiobooked Highsmith's 1951 debut novel, and I am so glad I did. Two words: Bronson Pinchot! His interpretation makes the madman Charles Bruno fairly leap off the page. I thought Bruno's counterpart, Guy, suffered in comparison at first, but I was mistaken. Listening to a scene while running around in Dollar General shopping for...well, who knows now?? I lost my concentration, my mind, my ability to multitask, and I wouldn't have it any other way. A crazy, crafty amusement park ride of a novel. But really: Audiobook is the way to go.

The Grand Tour: The Life and Music of George Jones - Rich Kienzle (biography) I have mixed feelings of enjoyment and disappointment about this biography of The Possum. Part of the problem is that Rich Kienzle, the music critic and Rich Kienzle, the biographer didn't meld together successfully. Although I agree 99% with his observations about country music across the years, especially the sorry state of the genre today, these outbursts read as such in a book that was supposed to be about George Jones' life. When Kienzle got his biographer hat on straight, George Jones' story was compelling and most of his anecdotes were entertaining. 

Another issue I had was that the editing seemed a little sloppy; he repeats himself unnecessarily. I noticed this mostly in the bits involving Tammy Wynette. Kienzle quotes Tammy's version of events during her marriage to George Jones, but then he constantly makes a point of mentioning that Tammy had her own problems with addiction and wasn't always honest or forthcoming. Again, perhaps it was slipshod editing, but it came across as hateful. I would like to read more of Rich Kienzle's music criticism, but I have a feeling I'll be waiting awhile for the definitive biography of George Jones.

4 comments:

Care said...

I thoroughly enjoyed my audiobook of Highsmith's Talented Mr. Ripley. Her words are just subtle and creepy.

Susan Bybee said...

Oh! Must hear it! Thanks, Care!

Susan Bybee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unruly Reader said...

Ooooo -- the audio of Strangers on a Train completely creeped me out. In the best way. So glad you liked it, too!