Friday, December 7, 2007
To Read or Not To Read...
My biggest struggle as a reader is often whether to power through a novel that is just not capturing me. I know I *should* (my least favorite word, by the way) because somewhere in there I might find a lesson to carry away with me or an image that takes my breath away. I do believe one gem of a description or one powerful character can make 500 pages of otherwise pointless stuff all worthwhile.
I can't believe I am saying it, but this is my dilemma with Julia Glass' The Whole World Over. I was so in love with her first novel, Three Junes, that I felt solid certainty that this book would move me in the same way. The characters in Three Junes and their tremendous senses of loss and melancholy haunted me for weeks upon completing the book. I even recall driving through Rock Creek Park, trying (poorly) to relate the story of these interwoven lives to Husband (who, though he snagged a first date with me by discussing Shakespeare, the sneaky man, is not a big reader himself). I closed that book with my eyes on the next masterpiece I could look forward to from her.
But here I am, 150 pages in, and I'm not in love yet. I'm not even really interested. So many characters to love, but I can't get there. I do love the Dickensian way she hops from one character to another, while knowing full well that somehow all of these paths are going to meet, in some way, before the book closes. And that meeting will be powerful and emotional and I know I'll cry and have to tell Husband all about it, too.
So I will continue to trudge through this, in the hopes that I fall in love. I rarely give up on a book, but when you look at the page number and realize you've got 350 pages left in a book that hasn't grabbed you by pp 150, it takes some serious deep breaths to keep muddling through.
Hopefully next time I check in, I will be eating my words.