Tuesday, 7 June 2011

What I'm Reading

I am currently reading “Paradise” by Toni Morrison. This author is a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist. Some of you may have watched the movie “Beloved”, which I recall as being complex, dramatic and peculiar. I didn’t know that Paradise was written by the same author as beloved when I picked the book off my shelf.

I rarely buy books from a bookstore at full price (unless it’s a Haruki Murakami  book, because those are seldom given away or sold for cheap). I think that I acquired this book from a huge clearance sale at a mall bookstore. I had gone to the mall to go to Cobbs Bread, and spotted tables set up in the middle of the mall. Turns out, the bookstore was clearing out all their old stock for unheard of prices. Books were being sold for as little as one to three dollars a book, brand new, and some hardcover! I went to town! I grabbed two big boxes and started filling them up with random books. I would give it a short glance to make sure it wasn’t a romance novel or self-help book, and throw it in the pile. I ended up with a couple cookbooks, some interesting non-fiction, and countless novels, including Paradise.

Now, I am not ready to fully critique the book just yet, as I am only half way through. It is taking me awhile because it is tedious. I have read some literature, a long time ago. I like to genre-hop and can basically read anything. I do, however, really like to indulge in some good spy-fiction. I like my books the way I like my meals: indulgent, savory, and satisfying. Paradise, so far, is proving to be the opposite. I wouldn’t say that it bores me, but I am definitely not excited by it. I often find myself confusing characters, or drifting off while reading poetic descriptions of how conversations are being held. I am longing for basic descriptions of the characters and setting, so I can quickly form a picture in my head to have while continuing to read. To me, it is about the character and the story, not by how well it is written.  I almost feel as if I should be taking notes while reading!

I was starting to feel inferior. Am I really that out of practice? I have read quite a few heavy books, including ones covering slavery, and the holocaust…have I really dumbed myself down that much by neglecting my bookshelf as of late? Perplexed by these questions, I did what I always do when I am in doubt: I consulted the internet. I immediately felt better after reading the 1st review (I can’t recall the site offhand; I was reading on my iphone browser while commuting). The reviewer was equally confused and irritated by the book. Then, I went on to read the rest. Most of the readers loved the book and gave it a high star rating, and all the same readers found it to be challenging and confusing at times. Many have read it over, and almost everyone said that it was a challenge worth accepting.

I try to keep these reviews in mind as I trudge through the book. I try to enjoy the language and view it as poetic instead of condescending. I try to choose to read it over napping on my evening commute. I hope that in the end, my effort it worth it. After this, I think I may have to pick a Robert Ludlum off my shelf!

Have any of you read this book, or this author? Or had a similar experience with literature? Please share!


1 comment:

  1. I haven't read that book but I know exactly what you mean! I sometimes read books because I feel I ought to finish them, even if they don't interest me that much. Hope it gets a bit better!