Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Reading Notes

Ooff. Well. I finally finished this gem a few weeks ago. It started out a lovely story, so well written and evocative of a time and place in history that makes reading historical fiction such a pleasure. But the tangents! Oh man. The first one came and went almost unnoticed as I was in such a haze of delight with the characters and story, but by the third and fourth one I was on to Charlotte's methods and started skipping large swaths of text just to get back to the actual timeline. It's too bad, really. I wanted to like this book so much that I broke with my rule of no guilt abandonment when tedium sets in (life is too short etc. ) Is there any truth to the old custom of paying authors by the word back in the day? or by the weight of the book? One can certainly see why tangents were popular for them.

Anywhoo. I'm on the fence with Villette. It's a lovely historic read if you can tolerate disorienting tangents.

So, as an antidote to classic literature, I chose this piece of modern fluff just for the sheer, easy reading fun of it. I like Gillian Flynn. I've read all three of her twisty psychological thrillers, especially Gone Girl the one that made her famous. Her writing is decent and well-paced and covers some pretty interesting aspects of human nature, although I find her use of gruesome imagery a bit much.

And then there's this one. I don't know if I qualify as an insomniac per se, but I do flirt with it on a regular basis. My nights are a series of intense but brief 'naps' interspersed with wakeful periods in which I usually read on my phone or ruminate in the dark over life's trivialities. So it was one night at 3am when I perused the website Brain Pickings on my phone and this book Sleep Demons by Bill Hayes came up as a feature of interest. It sounded like something I needed to read. I found a copy the next day at my library (actually, it was an interlibrary loan so although I 'found' it in the catalogue, it had to be brought in from another branch.) A few days later I had it in my hands and have been reading it ever since. It's wonderfully engaging and oh-so interesting! The author recounts his own experience with sleep, or the lack thereof, and weaves in some history, lore, and scientific studies. Just the kind of non-fiction I like to read.

After these? I don't know. I'd still like to keep going with the classic authors, I just need to hook up with one that clicks. I had my hand on Mark Twain's Innocents Abroad at the library the other day. Anybody read it? It looks like something I'd enjoy.


Jenny said...

Oh I hear you. Classics and their tangents. It's why I've almost given up on them. As far as I know they really did get paid per word. It explains so much. Glad to see you're balancing out those tangents with some fluff.

Connie said...

Thanks for your views on these. I read Gone Girl a while back, so I would probably like Sharp Objects. The one by Bronte I probably will steer clear of--I'm not crazy about tangents either.

Lark said...

I read Innocents Abroad years ago and thought it was funny...Twain does such a good job of making fun of his fellow Americans. If you like his satirical wit, I think you'd like this book. (And it's certainly not as long as Villette.)

Unknown said...

.....love, love, loved Gillian Flynn's trilogy....but then again psycho-thrillers have always been my thing reading-wise....

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

I don't think I could read Villette now. I wonder if they did get paid by the word. You make me want to look it up. I'd be interested in reading something by Gillian Flynn though I never read Gone Girl. I saw the movie though. Maybe that counts.

Alexis @ Reflections of a bookaholic