Alex Janvier

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Recently I was in Ottawa and had the opportunity to see the Alex Janvier exhibit at the National Gallery of Canada.  I love being positively surprised by a new artist.  Janvier’s work is different than anything I’ve ever seen.  Worth a visit if you’re in Ottawa.

Today Will Be Different

todaywillbeI had read Where Did You Go, Bernadette in a book group, and I’m glad I did.  It wasn’t a novel I would have picked up on my own, but it was a fun read.  An example of what happens when you step a little outside your comfort zone, trust someone else’s taste, and are pleasantly surprised.

When Today Will Be Different popped up as a kindle deal I snatched it up.  I had positive memories of Bernadette and I thought another offbeat novel was what I needed.

As I was reading this book I remembered the issues I had with Bernadette.  There’s a lot going on in Semple’s novels. Almost a manic amount of activity.  And I didn’t really care about the characters.  And every time I put down the novel everything about it fled my mind.  Every time I picked it up I had to try to remember what had already happened.  I almost gave up.

And then, as with Bernadette, about 3/4 of the way through I couldn’t put the book down.  By the end I was left with the feeling that I really liked the book, despite the fact that a few days earlier when someone asked me what I was reading, I couldn’t remember (very unlike me).

This book was completely different than Bernadette, and yet exactly the same.  There’s no plot overlap and I don’t think any of the characters are similar, and yet the energy and the feel of the book is exactly the same.  A week out from finishing the book I’m left with the feeling that I really enjoyed it, but I couldn’t give you a coherent synopsis of the plot.

I would recommend this book to a real reader.  Someone who can stick with a book even when the whole enterprise is looking a little shaky.  There is a reward in the final quarter of the book, by which I mean all of the manic energy comes together and the plot makes sense.  A little like those 3D images you look at for a while and all of a sudden a 3D image pops off the 2D paper.