Dear Readers,


I now consider this blog to be my Juvenelia. Have fun perusing the archives, and find me at my new haunt, here.

Monday, July 02, 2007

One of my favorite feelings is when I get so involved in a book that I want to read it all the time. But last year, while I was teaching beside ms. fellow-ette, I couldn't get up the energy to get engrossed in a book, and recently I keep losing interest mid-novel and giving up -- only I don't like giving up on a book. So I pretend to keep reading the novel, a few pages a week, so that I have not only the dissatisfaction of a drawn-out book, but also weeks at a time where I read nothing at all. I'm an English major, former English teacher, and usually a passionate reader, so clearly this has been an unsatisfactory state of affairs.

I've spent the last few months trying to make it through Ford Madox Ford's trilogy, Parade's End, and I'd love if it anyone could tell me if the final 200 of the 900 pages are worth reading. I actually liked the first half, but 900 pages is a lot of a depressing story about a horrible marriage and a horrible war. If you'd like to try Ford Madox Ford, I do recommend The Good Solider, which has all of the marital strife in only 200 pages.

My new ambition, since I've (almost) given up on Parade's End, is to read through The Modern Library's list of the 100 Best Novels. I can think of about 100 reasons why I don't like the list, both the idea of it and the list itself. (Most notably, the list is missing my favorite book, Middlemarch - how could they?!) But, I'm hoping the list will give me some satisfaction as I move through it (in a methodical, grocery-list type of way), and some motivation to get through one book and move on to another. Plus, I was feeling a bit insecure that I had read only a third of the "best" novels. :)

I've had my first success with #100, Booth Tarkington's The Magnificent Ambersons, which I picked up and didn't want to put down, and finished in four days. It has a good story and a main character, George Amberson Minafer, that you have to hate but somehow also forgive. He is the quintessential old-fashioned spoiled rich kid, and somehow it isn't quite his fault. He's the product of his outdated society, and you know all along that he will fade away just as his horse-and-buggy, cobblestone-streets, "old-money" way of life gives way to cars, suburbs, and get-rich-quick schemers. I tend to like a novel that is not quite so heavy-handed with its motives, and not so transparently a "period piece," and not so hastily wrapped up at the end. But three-quarters of the way through the book, your heart wants to break for a millions different reasons, and that's a nice feeling for a lifelong bookworm having a rough reading spell. :) Next up is J.P. Donleavy's The Ginger Man.

2 comments:

  1. Damn gangster. Your ability to parse thick tomes packed page by page with hrash and brutal reality amazes me. Will you honor us with a review of your next reading project?

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  2. no_slappz11:15 AM

    baltimorejen, you wrote:

    "...I pretend to keep reading the novel, a few pages a week, so that I have not only the dissatisfaction of a drawn-out book, but also weeks at a time where I read nothing at all. I'm an English major, former English teacher, and usually a passionate reader, so clearly this has been an unsatisfactory state of affairs."

    You're not in college anymore. You can toss any book that becomes boring. Too many do. It's the author's fault for not entertaining his readers till the end.

    You wrote:

    "I've spent the last few months trying to make it through Ford Madox Ford's trilogy, Parade's End, and I'd love if it anyone could tell me if the final 200 of the 900 pages are worth reading."

    Didn't finish it. Too boring.

    You wrote:

    "If you'd like to try Ford Madox Ford, I do recommend The Good Solider, which has all of the marital strife in only 200 pages."

    Yes. A superb book and probably the only Ford Maddox Ford book a person should bother to read.

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