30 Day Book Challenge Day 9 – A Book You Thought You Wouldn’t Like But Ended Up Loving

It happens to all of us. We go into the journey of reading a book, fairly confident that we won’t enjoy it. Maybe it’s a book that a friend recommended to us, maybe it’s that awkward birthday present you have to read to be polite, or maybe it’s a classic we feel we have to read out of a sense of duty. Whatever the reason, it’s always a pleasant surprise when that book we had little expectation for turns out to be quite good.

Luckily for me, this exact thing happened recently. I bought a book by Steve Martin (yes, the film star/comedian Steve Martin) called An Object of Beauty, a relatively new book by him about art and the art world, most particularly the New York art scene over the last couple Steve Martin holding An Object of Beautyof decades. Considering Martin is known for some fairly daggy movies over the years, he never struck me as somebody who would know a lot about art, and I didn’t really expect him to be able to weave a good novel together, either. I only really bought the book out of sheer curiosity, that “just in case it’s good” purchase – does anybody else do this from time to time?

An Object of Beauty tells the story of Lacey Yeager, a young, attractive woman who works her way up through the New York art scene, working in various galleries until she eventually sets up her own. During all this, we see her slide her way through numerous relationships and take enormous risks to get what she wants, and all of it is narrated from an old friend, who occasionally enters the story himself. The character of Lacey isn’t the most likeable character ever, and often I found as a reader I connected to some of the other characters more, particularly the young men left behind as she weaves her trail of heartbreaking and art buying. But most notably of all, the thing that blew me away with this book is that Steve Martin actually knows his stuff! He admits in his author’s notes that he has been collecting art himself since the late 1960s, when he himself was a young man, so he not only has an appreciation for art but has watched the art scene fluctuate with various other events in history, much of which he pits this story against. His writing is very accessible but still witty, and the story itself flitters between being sexy and humorous to being insightful and philosophical, ultimately examining the idea that while the core of the art world, art itself, is a thing of beauty, the art world which surrounds it can become quite ugly.

An Object of Beauty

If you feel like reading something a little different, try this novel. You might be surprised – I was.

7 thoughts on “30 Day Book Challenge Day 9 – A Book You Thought You Wouldn’t Like But Ended Up Loving

  1. You keep adding books on my books-to-read-list. Stop it! Kidding 🙂 But I feel I have to read this since I’ve been thinking the same thing about Steve Martin.. he’s a ‘funny guy’ not a smart one.. 😛 But I realise one should never assume so about a person you don’t know.

    • Hahahaha, yes I do keep adding books to your to-read list, and other people’s lists too. You see, I have heard there is another global recession coming this year, so I plan on single-handedly averting this disaster by talking lots of people into buying lots of books via my blog. Then I will be hailed a hero and I might even get a “good work” sticker put on my forehead. 😛
      But yeah, I have read a lot of books by comedians recently and have found that they always turn out to be very intelligent and insightful, regardless of how I feel about them as a comedian. This book definitely was a pleasant surprise, as I’m not a huge Steve Martin fan. 🙂

      • I can put that sticker on your forehead right now! 😀
        And I know I’m not too dumb to get them, but you know, sometimes they just seem so complicated. Like “In an alternative reality it could be like this, or this – how are you even Sure you live in the Real Reality? Huhh?” and I’m like “Say what?” hahah

        • Oh yeah, can you? Can you really put that sticker on my forehead right now? Go on? (you’re going to send me a photoshopped picture of me with a sticker on my forehead, aren’t you? 😛 )
          I think the trick with any of these books I am mentioning is just to go into them with an empty mind of sorts, in as much as, try not to go into them with preconceptions, or concerns about how complicated they are – if they are well written the complicated nature of them won’t deter you from reading. Like I think if as a reader they just make no sense, the writer probably hasn’t done their job very well. This is a massively generalised opinion…but anyway. 😛

  2. Pingback: Which comedians and actors do you think could write a great book? | wantoncreation

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