I love old keys, and I’m not sure why. I just think they’re really cool to look at, and they always make me wonder who used them. When did they stop using them? Doorknobs don’t really have character anymore. Most of the features in new houses are built for efficiency and usefulness, but the lack character and quirkiness of old homes.
I live in a new house now, and I like a lot of things about it, but I grew up in a farmhouse, and I miss the creaky steps, odd drafts, doorways set everywhere for no apparent reason, and the keyholes in the doors.
I can’t be the only one interested in this. Books and literature talk about both literal and metaphoric keys. Keys seem to be one of those universal symbols that speak to everyone on some level.
Swamplandia, by Karen Russell, was this month’s book club pick. I was skeptical about it from the start as it sounded more like literary fiction than genre fiction to me. By this, I mean that it sounded more like a book that makes you think than a book where anything actually happens. Don’t get me wrong; I love books that make me think, but I need plot too!
I gave up when I was about 100 pages in. I tried to convince myself “It’s a third of the way through the book. Just get through it!” It didn’t work. One of the other women in the club who finished (and loved) the book said it “got slow” in the middle but was “worth it.” I thought that if it got much more slow, it would be going backward.
It’s funny, but on Amazon, the star ratings are pretty evenly spread between 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. I’ve never seen that before in a book!
I wanted to like it, and I gave it more of a chance as a book club read than I would have if I were reading it on my own. Though in fairness, I never would have picked it up had it not been this month’s selection. I didn’t like it. It’s well written with interesting characters, but no plot to speak of, and no forward momentum. We’re thrust into the world of Swamplandia, and I didn’t care enough about anything in the book to keep reading. Unless you really love literary fiction (in which case, why are you reading my blog?), I’d suggested passing on this one.