Friday, February 04, 2005

I'm confronting a dilemma at the moment: to read State of Fear by Michael Crichton or not. I'm fifteen pages in, and I feel the same way I did when I started reading The Da Vinci Code. Is this 400 pages worth my time?

What makes me hesitate? At least eight people (I'm not sure if they're characters or walk-ons at this point) have been introduced, all engaged in different nefarious deeds that seem totally unrelated. I close the book a moment. Will there be a character that I can relate to? A character that will develop as the story goes along? Will I care about him, her, or them? Or is this an idea thriller, in which everything revolves around the action of the plot?

Reviews have not answered this question for me. Although from my vantage point there is no question that global warming is at least partly humanmade, it doesn't bother me that Crichton is arguing that it is not. From the point of view of ideas and scientific fact, State of Fear seems, from all I have read, to be worth reading, but I can't help but feel that I'd rather read a nonfiction book on the subject than a fiction thriller.

I am on the fence. Meanwhile, I can't stop myself from turning to Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld, which has a character I care deeply about. (See my post of February 1st.) Will Lee, a girl from a modest Midwestern background, get her feet under her at this posh New England prep school? She's been there six months now, and doesn't have a friend, yet she observes everything and everyone around her with a sharp eye, missing nothing.


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