I'm currently reading The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff. It's about a woman who goes back to her home town, Templeton, to figure out what to do after an ill-advised love affair with her married professor results in pregnancy. But home isn't the quite the safe haven she expected it to be. I bought the book because Templeton is a fictionalized Cooperstown, NY. My sister and her family lived there in the eighties, so some of the places are familiar.
Compared to JS&MN I'm whizzing through this one. More than halfway through in just a few days. And as the tension is building, I'll probably finish before the weekend. And that leads me to my pondering for the day.
Do books benefit or suffer because of the book they follow? This is a much shorter book (only 300 or so pages) with shorter chapters than JS&MN. The writing is more modern, although still with beautiful descriptions and well-drawn characters, and more accessible. But would I be enjoying it quite as much without having just spent over a month on the previous read? I know the converse is true. I've had to put a book aside that I knew I'd like because it followed something that I loved, and it didn't quite make it to the same level.
Makes me wonder if I mightn't be better off hanging out with a crowd of lesser writers instead of the wonderful scribes who populate the Pirates. Then my stuff would look awesome in comparison. Of course, this way, I'm forced to really try to get my best work in front of them. And that's really what helps me in the long run.