A Winter’s Tale

Uh…so I haven’t posted all week.  Uh…so I don’t really have an excuse I suppose.  Well I do but they aren’t very good.  Saturday night when I got home I spent an hour or so reading some of my favorite blogs and then just as I was starting to write a post the internet connection went south.  I tried and tried but there was no getting it to respond.  Then Sunday I spent the day cleaning and cooking to host my first ever “real” dinner party.  I had invited three guys from work over and my roommate was helping me play host.  We had a great time, but three bottles of wine and several beers later along with a trip to the local gay bar and I was in no mood shape to write.  Then Monday I spent the day recuperating and fell asleep watching TV.  And then there was Tuesday.  It was a repeat of Monday.  I fell asleep watching TV.  And that brings us to today.  And I’m posting.  Yippee!!!

I’m an avid reader.  I make a point of reading everyday.  No matter how tired I am.  Or how drunk I am.  Or how late it is.  I read every night before I go to sleep.  My routine usually involves brushing my teeth, taking my meds and getting comfortable in the bed.  Then I set the alarm for the next morning and get out my book, find my place and start to read.  As a point, although not always, I only read fiction.  I like getting lost in the stories and making new friends.  My favorite books are almost always written in first person.  I find that I’m much quicker to get lost in the tale if it’s written that way.  I also find that I have a hard time putting the book down if I’m really into it.  I’m always looking at the clock trying to decide if I can read just one more chapter before I turn out the light.  Only problem is, sometimes it means I only get a few hours of sleep because of how long I read.  I also know that I loved the book when I’m sad to see it end and I feel like I’ve lost a friend that I’m no longer going to get to spend time with.

I just read The Kite Runner and I felt like that.  I was sad for the book to be over and I wanted to continue reading to find out what else happens to Amir and how his life proceeds.  I also spent several months reading the entire Harry Potter series this summer.  I loved them all.  After seven books, though, I was terribly depressed when I realized that it was over.  In a way, even though Harry didn’t die in the books, there is a loss, because he’s no longer a friend spending time with me.  It’s not often that I truly feel this way about a book.  It just so happens in the last several months I’ve been lucky to read a couple.

And that brings me to my current book.  I started a new book last night.  The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards.  I chose this book after searching my bookshelf for a book I haven’t read and that caught my interest.  I have an entire shelf full of books I haven’t read and there’s no rhyme or reason as to why I pick the book I do.  It’s just catches my eye.  So I chose this book.  Followed my routine, got comfortable and started to read.

First problem.  It’s not written in first person.  Okay, not so much a problem as it is something to get used to.  After a page or two though it’s fine and I’m getting into the book.  I find myself becoming immersed in it and before long I’m very much into the story.   The plot is kind of interesting.  It’s about a doctor who is forced to deliver the twins his wife is pregnant with.  The first one, a boy, is born without any problems.  The second one, a girl, is born with Down’s Syndrome.  The doctor gives the girl to his nurse telling her to take it to a nearby home for children.  The nurse keeps the child and raises it herself.  I know all of this because it’s on the back of the book and most of the premise is created in the first two chapters.

So I’m reading along and, well, I ran into a problem that bothered me so much that I had to stop reading.  The book is set in Lexinton, Kentucky in 1964.  I know it’s a work of fiction, but if you are going to set the book in real place then you should make sure the scenarios that you create are factual.  As the nurse leaves she drives through the snow out of Lexington.  The roads are bad until she gets to the Interstate.  Once there she is able to make better time.   She crosses the Kentucky River and finds the “home” just south of Louisville.  This raises an eyebrow but I’m willing to let it go.  The woman is about to drop the baby off, changes her mind and then heads back to Lexington.  32 miles from Lexington, just passed the Frankfort exit, she encounters an accident.  And well this is where I stopped reading.

I know it shouldn’t matter in the big scheme of things.  But to get to Louisville by Interstate means that you are driving on I-64.  And here’s the problem.  I-64 didn’t exist in Central Kentucky in 1964.  I was in elementary school when I-64 came through Lexington.  And I’m not the old.  The reason I remember is that the construction caused my school bus to have to take detours and this went on for well over a year or so.  I spent a long time today trying to find out exactly when it was built in Central Kentucky but was unable to locate an exact date.  So I know that this should have no bearing on the rest of the book, but for me it does.  What else did Kim fail to research before she wrote the book.  What else about the book is not factual.  In the big scheme of things it’s really rather silly, but when someone’s writing about a place you call home then they better know what they are talking about.  Damn it.

Will I finish reading it?  Probably.  But it’s definitely changed my opinion of the book.

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4 thoughts on “A Winter’s Tale

  1. sweetiegirlz January 24, 2008 / 03:18

    It’s funny. I’m sure you are dead serious about it though. I hope you enjoy the rest of the book and can get past the faux pas.

    I read in Stephen King’s book “ON WRITING” that
    he basically gives a green light for authors to blur the facts in a work of fiction.

    I’m sure obvious mistakes do make the reading less enjoyable.

  2. Lemuel January 24, 2008 / 07:44

    Your post sounded bells for me. I no longer read as much as I used to. I used to love to read before going to sleep. Is that a carry over from when my parents read to me as a small child? When I got immersed in a book, I would also be sad to see it end. I also feel that way about some movies or even TV shows. The characters become so alive and so much a part of my life that I hate to part with them.

    I also understand your feelings about writers and real places. I am a QAF fan. I’ve had to rents the dvd’s to watch it. It purportedly takes place in Pittsburgh. I know Pittsburgh. My older son lives there. In one season they kept referring to the Susquehanna River flowing by. HELL-O! The Susquehanna River is on the other side of the state! (OK, the middle.) But I grew up along the Susquehanna and lived for 41 years of my life along one branch or the other. It is nowhere near Pittsburgh. That just totally ruined QAF for me for a while. With *very* little research the writers could have known that they had their choice of three rivers for Pittsburgh, but not one of them is the Susquehanna.

  3. Michael January 24, 2008 / 08:30

    As soon as I read “interstate” in your synopsis, I knew that was the problem. I, too, cannot stand little anachronisms like that–especially in movies. There were like THREE in No Country For Old Men that completely took me out of the movie. All my friends were talking about how much they loved the movie, but it was ruined for me. Funny thing is, I can’t even remember what they were now.

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