I was doing pretty well on my TBR this year. I wanted to read books by authors I hadn’t read before. I read books by Frederik Bachman, J.M. Coetzee, and Lauren Groff, among others. I even read the memoir by Broadway star Andrew Rannells. However, I saw the trailer for the upcoming movie The Goldfinch and I became obsessed with it so much I had to read the book.
The film has a great cast that includes Nicole Kidman, Luke Wilson, and Ansel Elgort from Baby Driver as Theodore. Between this film and playing Tony in the remake of West Side Story next year, he’s going to be a big star. I’m most excited though, that Jeffrey Wright is Hobie and from what I’ve seen, it could be an Oscar-nominated performance. I always liked Wright from when he was in Basquiat. Plus the film is directed by John Crawley who directed 2015’s Brooklyn.
My main problem is that if I see the film before reading the book, I never wind up reading the book. Some of the books I didn’t read after seeing the film include The Reader, Everything is Illuminated, Little Children, The Devil Wears Prada and The Nanny Diaries. I saw Shopgirl with Steve Martin but I couldn’t be bothered to read the 130-page book it was based on.
Also, The Goldfinch was a very big novel. The paperback edition I read was 962 pages long. I get intimidated by big books. I can be a slow reader at times. It took me about 2 and a half months to read Don Di Lillo’s 800-page epic Underworld. But I have read big books such as Bleak House by Charles Dickens and Sarum by Edward Rutherford and read them somewhat quickly. And I have big books in my collection that I want to read, mainly Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth (1,000 pages) and And The Ladies of the Club… by Helen Hoover Santmeyer ( a mere 1,047 pages). It seems silly not to read them because I’m afraid it will take me a long time to read.
Thankfully, it didn’t take me too long to read The Goldfinch. It’s the story about a boy named Theodore Decker who winds up stealing a famous painting from the Metropolitan Museum during a terrorist attack that kills his mom. Donna Tartt is a great storyteller. Although it isn’t as tight as her first book, The Secret History, it has some twist and turns that keep you on edge. I thought the parts in Vegas dragged a bit, but towards the end, you get invested in Theodore’s story. It’s also a good examination of our connection to great art and why we need it in our lives. I’m glad I read it before seeing the film and think it might make my top 10 list of books this year.
Now I am back on my TBR. I am reading Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner. He seems to be a popular author and so far I love the writing. Still, I think of TBRs as a road map. I had no intention of reading The Goldfinch right away but when I saw the trailer, I knew I had to read it. Sometimes, you have to go on your gut feelings on certain books. I know if I didn’t read The Goldfinch now, it would still be on my shelf unread. Don’t be afraid to shake things up. In the end, with books, it’s about the journey. Always be up for the adventure.