Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Give-Up Books

Well, Proust finally did it; he broke me. I started on part two of Swann's Way and was just, like, why. Why would I keep going when this has been slow torture? So I threw the book aside and enjoyed the dual feeling of failure and liberation that washed over me. Flibberation.

I don't know why, but for some reason, this novel was so difficult for me to stay focused on. My mind constantly drifted. I think in part it's the description thing--Proust does a lot of describing of scenery, and I always tune out lengthy descriptions of scenery. The writing isn't particularly difficult; his meditations on memory and time are beyond lovely, even. But I don't know, I think it came down to this was not to my taste, in the way that Henry James is to my taste, and maybe that's enough.

I think one of the interesting things I've gotten out of my reading goal this year is this idea that I can decide life's too short and move on to read something else. This is the fourth give-up of this year. It's a little more difficult when it's "literature" that I feel I "should" read, but this is a good lesson too, I think. Here are my give-ups to date for posterity:

I gave up on Slam by Nick Hornby when I realized I didn't really care about the travails of a whiny little white lad enough to read it, and the writing was average. Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon actually shocked me with how poorly written it was. It was painfully awful and I made it through two pages before calling it quits. Maybe from page three onward it's a masterpiece but.... no. I didn't even open The Brothers K, I know it's a wonderful book, but I just admitted to myself finally after having it on my bookshelf for years that it wasn't gonna happen, I was never going to feel like reading it. And with Swann's Way, I gave it my best shot, but in the end, decided to bail.

Hopefully this means I have a shot at completing my reading goal; I have two reads and four re-reads to go.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Beth said...

I ... Hmm. Mo, I love you and I want to support all of your life choices, especially since I made the same choices with Proust and that stupid Chabon book. But friends don't let friends not read the Brothers K.

(Just kidding, Jeremy didn't read it either and I only almost divorced him, I didn't actually go through with it. I love that book so much.)

11:45 PM  
Blogger mo pie said...

I know, you are one of the reasons I wanted to read it, and Ian loves it too! But it's not happening in the immanent future. I can always get it on Kindle one of these days.

Please still love me.

2:50 PM  

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