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.