Monday, November 14, 2005

Odious is in the middle of his self-named NaNoReMo, chronicled on his own blog. However, despite his devouring of novels in a day, I've found it fairly easy to keep ahead in lazy leaps. Unfortunately he still has a lot of the good stuff before him, while I'm down to the books I didn't read because I didn't want to.

I decided to give Hemingway another chance, and managed a slog through A Farewell to Arms without too much pain. I just can't stand his style! I'm sure it's effective, ground-breaking, etc, but it makes me want to shake him. It's difficult to get any feel for his characters without more detail and description, and I end up not caring about them at all. The end of the novel is probably supposed to be sad, but to me it was inevitable, predictable, and not tremendously interesting. Also, his idea of a love scene is really appalling.

Before this I read Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, which kept me hooked with a morbid fascination and sick desire for more dreadful revelations. It's like nothing I've ever read before, and while I'm glad I read it, at the same time I wish I didn't have that information in my head. I started it at work one day when I was covering someone else's hosting shift, and realized after an hour or so that it was not the best place for such a book. I found myself falling into despair, looking around and thinking, "Life is still like this! We all hang on to dead-end, worthless, insecure jobs that grind us down into poverty, and there's no escape! AAAAAAAAHHHHHH!" At that point I put the book away.

Now I'm reading Invisible Man. It's kind of boring so far. I wish that, like Odious, I still had Howards End and Mrs. Dalloway to read. Like most great novels, those certainly have their depressing elements (I wonder why that is? I should start a new list--100 Novels That Don't Make You Want To Kill Yourself), but they're so much pleasanter...

1 comment:

Larissa said...

I agree on Hemingway. I have only tried my hand at Farewell to Arms, but realized halfway through that life is too short and eyesight too precious to waste on such tedium. I think people only pretend to like Hemingway because he's one of those few macho literary icons (Norman MAiler included) whom one can profess to admire without seeming like a nerdie bookworm. I don't know too many real, unashamed bookworms who like him. ANd I also agree on The Jungle--what a book! I read it last year and seriously considered vegetarianism. I won't discuss my opinion on the ending, though, as it's unclear whether you've read it all the way through yet.