Saturday, March 07, 2015

Then You Can Start to Make it Better

2015 is just barely underway and I'm already in my second book slump! Last weekend I felt the slumpiness coming on and I deftly fended it off with the fresh and witty Farewell, Dorothy Parker by Ellen Meister. I love the idea of a series with Mrs. Parker as a ghost. The quips flow like alcohol, but Meister did her homework and the reader gets to see the Dorothy with a strong social conscience and unresolved personal issues. The specter is also...hmmm, how can I put this delicately? Horny!

Anyway, a fun read. If I'd had any sense, I would have gone on with Meister's just-released follow-up Dorothy Parker Drank Here. But no. I must have shown the soft, white part of my neck because the next week found me mired in slumphood and moving through these three books as if swimming in molasses:

1. A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin. I am enjoying the story, but I've hit a wall. It's not Martin. It's me.

2. Vincent van Gogh - Naifeh and Smith. I'm halfway through, but it's hard work even when I'm not in a slump. I don't understand. Naifeh and Smith have an engaging style. I fairly whistled at my reading when I read their biography of Jackson Pollock which is also a lengthy tome.

3. Burmese Days - George Orwell. I threw Orwell into the mix because I've learned over the years that he can fix anything. Also, in these last days of my expat life, I thought it would be something to hang onto and ride out this arid interval. No joy.

Thursday found me moodily clicking through my blogroll. Everyone can read but me. I happened upon my longtime favorite Shelf Love and Teresa was talking about A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara and how it's dark and depressing. She mentioned Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure.

 I sat up straighter and ceased scowling. In one of those flashes that illuminate everything, I knew that it was time to read Jude. Jude would get me out of this reading slump. I searched my Kindle and found a copy that I had downloaded during a short-lived fervor to read only 19th century authors.

Now it's Sunday afternoon. So far, so good. Or bad, as is the case with Jude Fawley. Actually, he's on an upswing because his barbarous wife Arabella has just decided to quit him and emigrate to Australia and he's once again free to pursue his studies. I've just started Part Second, as Hardy calls it and I'm reading! Really really reading. What a relief.


Teresa said...

I'm so pleased Jude is working out for you so far. You've gotten through the pig-killing, which is one of the more harrowing scenes, although I won't say it's all uphill from here, because it's never uphill for poor Jude. I'll be waiting to hear what you think when it's finished!

Sam said...

Now you're own your way. Book slumps come, but just try to remember that they always go, too. I've come to believe they are just an inevitable part of the reading cycle, and are nothing to worry about.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Oh man, Jude the Obscure was my first Hardy novel. It's intense but so beautiful!