Sunday, February 08, 2009

January Reads

All my great intentions to increase my reading productivity came to naught in January. I only managed to read two books.

I blame the first book - One Mississippi by Mark Childress. My dad highly recommended this book, so I was looking forward to it. I ended up hating it and it took me forever to trudge through it. The book was set in the early 70s and the narrator was a high school student. But the language was jarringly out of place. A lot of the vernacular used was more 2008 than 1972. I might have been able to forgive the language if the characters had had any redemptive value, but sadly, they did not. I found most of them quite loathsome.

I know, I know - if is short, why continue to read bad books? In this case, it's because I kept thinking it would get better. By the time I realised it wasn't going to, I was nearly halfway through it and felt obligated to complete it.

The other book I read last month, Intuition by Allegra Goodman, was fantastic. I wasn't quite sure about it at first. I struggled with the first two chapters. Then I took a bath and ended up reading 100 pages. The book is set in a cancer research laboratory and focuses on the issues surrounding one of the research fellow's projects. At first it is failing, then he discovers tremendous results. When his girlfriend, who is also a research fellow in the lab, attempts to recreate his results, she fails.

The book focuses on the fallout of the failed experiment and their failed relationship. It's a real page turner and is written with a beautiful sense of ambiguity. Even when I finished the book, I wasn't sure who was right and who was wrong. The nuance was just incredible. If I ever get to the point of writing half as well as this book, I will be in good shape.


At 8 February 2009 at 14:32, Blogger The Finely Tuned Woman said...

Sometimes it takes a while for a book to grow on us, but at a certain point we get gripped by it and have to finish it and know the outcome and, hopefully, think about it afterwards for a long time.

Some books we just have an allergic reaction to, they are not meant to be read by us and they are best put aside and forgotten about, no matter how hard we try to finish them. It's cruel to yourself to continue with them. That's why people walk out of bad plays.

There are so many good novels to read, that I refuse to spend my time reading frustrating ones, especially if they come recommended. Often, what a man recommends to me turns out to be something I'm not in the least interested in. I do better with women's literature.

At 8 February 2009 at 14:58, Blogger Babaloo said...

Intuition sounds interesting.

I'm currently reading a book that I hard time getting into as well even though I find the topic very interesting. Maybe what puts me off is the fact that it's got 450 pages in very small print. Or maybe it's the fact that it's not a thriller. (Maybe I should read more comics...)

At 8 February 2009 at 16:50, Blogger Rose said...

I started Intuition a year or so ago and put it down. Now I'll give it another go.


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