Home / The 30 Things List / 28. Read 300 Books / Book #9: An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England
Published on July 14, 2013, by in 28. Read 300 Books.

I fell super behind on my book reading.  I started a book in May that was putting me to sleep every couple of pages but I tried to power through it.  Instead I just spent two months on it and I’m not even halfway through.  That’s not like me!  I gave up and switched over to…

Arsonist's Guide to Writer's Homes in New England

I’m not sure why I bought An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England.  I do know why I picked it up when I needed a book to bust me out of my Lady and the Monk rut – it was on the top of the pile of books waiting to be put on shelves.  Yep, pure laziness.  I just didn’t want to dig for something better.

I got what I deserved.  The book wasn’t bad but I have no doubt there would have been a better one somewhere in that pile.

The Good:

  • The story itself is interesting – a boy named Sam accidentally burns down the house of a famous writer, serves his time, and starts his life over only to find that the crime haunts him.  Someone starts burning down the homes of other writers and Sam tries to track down the culprit before he gets the blame, which would be a great plan if he weren’t an inept bumbler.
  • There are some interesting relationship dynamics in the book.  Sam’s relationships with his parents are particularly nuanced.
  • The ‘mystery’ aspect kept me reading.  Even when I wasn’t loving what I was reading, I stuck around to see who was burning down the other writers’ homes.

The Bad

  • Like I mentioned above, Sam is a bumbler.  It’s supposed to be part of his charm but it ends up being really frustrating.  You just want him to stop being such an idiot the whole time so you can get on with the story.
  • The ‘voice’ that the author uses is a bit awkward.  The narrator repeats himself and has verbal tics.  It starts out kind of ‘quirky’ but ended up being annoying after a while.
  • The end was really lame.  I won’t give it away but ugh.

The Interesting

  • Nothing, really.  Couldn’t find anything interesting about the book or the author.  Sorry!

Would I Recommend It?  If you’re reading something terrible and this is your only other option – sure.  Otherwise, dig deeper in the pile.

What’s next?  I went to a book signing for Neil Gaiman a few weeks ago and it made me want to read more of his work.  I think I’ll pick up American Gods again because I read it so long ago that I’ve forgotten it and then move on to Anansi Boys and Ocean at the End of the Lane.