New books are generally released on Tuesdays. I know this because I've worked in a bookstore for four years. So, every Tuesday, I go to my store and check out the new releases.
A few Tuesdays ago, I saw this book:
"BEAUTIFUL MARIA OF MY SOUL."
Oh my God, what a gorgeous title! Beautifulbeautifulbeautiful!!! It took my breath away. I carried that book around with me for a while, sharing the title with anyone who stood still in front of me for any length of time. In all my life, I could not remember a title of a book ever having that sort of affect on me. Plus, it was written by a Latino, and I love Latino writers. I love their prose and the loveliness of their words.
I had to read this book. I glanced at the blurb on the back of the jacket and found out that it was based on another novel by Oscar Hijuelos called "Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love."
Ah yes! I've heard of this book before but where?? Then it came to me; this book had won the Pulitzer years ago. Must be good then! So I bought a copy and took it home.
I went to my online book club and did a search for reviews. This is what I found. Mostly bad reviews. Bad. My heart felt heavy because I was so excited about finding these books. I almost threw it away but my sense of tossing out something I've paid cold cash for went against my grain. I figured I would give it a try. 15 pages. 25 pages. Big yawn. 30 pages..hmmm. 35 pages, wow. 40? And I am hooked, hooked into one of the best books I have read in a long long time! Wonderful! I am so wrapped up in the lives of Nestor and Cesar Castillo and Delores and yes, Maria! that I can hardly bear to put the book down and turn off the light at night. I can't wait to add MY review to those at my book club. I can't wait to rave and rant and go on like a maniac. Yes, a raving maniac!
What I learned? Do not put much faith into reviews. Try a book, taste it feel it breathe it live it and then, decide for yourself,
Week Three Summary
3 years ago