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Sunday, 14 July 2013

Being beaten by a book, and being challenged

At heart I am a Victorian who thoroughly believes in self improvement and yet I am also one of those people that even if I'm quite enjoying a book, will sometimes put it down and never pick it up again. I only recently read The Great Gatsby - pleasantly vapid and purposefully shallow, I have been informed by a friend that she believes it not to be Fitzgerald's finest - all the way through, as I felt duty-bound to read it before I saw the film . I started to read I, Claudius summer '09 as my holiday reading in Paris, thoroughly enjoying it, and still have failed to complete it. With that in mind Katy Guest wrote an article in The Indie about saving yourself the time and the agony of persevering with a dull book. I really, really want to love Henry James and yet I can't. I can't bare his prose, it's so unnecessary and meandering. Perhaps one day I will come to appreciate his works in the same way that I enjoy his compatriot Edith Wharton's, but right now I have neither the time nor the inclination to stick it out.

For all my quasi-intellectual posturing  I wish I was more well-read than I actually am. As I get older it becomes more and more apparent how deficient I am. The Grauniad a few years ago published a list of the 1000 novels that everyone should read and twice I have challenged myself to have a good crack at it, as I'm only in double figures. I reckon that if I make a public announcement of my intent, then I should at least have it a bloody good crack at it.

The Rules:

  1. I will not count a book as read unless I am acquainted with both covers and all the troublesome content in between.
  2. If, by Chapter 3, I cannot bear it any longer then I will put it down.
  3. I won't allow myself to become a dinner party bore as a result of the challenge. 
  4. I will choose books at random so as not to reaffirm my prejudices.
  5. If it costs me more than £7 on my kindle then I won't read it either.
  6. I'll bother you all with updates. 

So many words so little time!

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