Saturday, November 12, 2011

Limited attention span and literary criticism do not mix.

I was really excited when I finally finished graduate school.  I was already working in the field in which I planned to continue, and I had a job I loved; although if they could have paid us in actual peanuts they would have. What really thrilled me was the idea of reading things I wanted to read.  I hadn't picked up a book for pleasure or personal interest for four years.  I did enjoy a lot of the reading for my coursework, but by no means all of it.

So I embarked on a glut of Harry Potter books and the Series of Unfortunate Events (nowhere near as interesting), but also read things like Beowulf and whatever Shakespeare I could find at the library.  I re-read Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, and then set about reading everything I could find by those two authors.  More recently I've been reading some non-fiction writers, like Lynn Peril and Brené Brown, as well as a lot of fiction I hear discussed on NPR in the mornings.  My most recent choice is by Chris Bohjalian; not the one I heard discussed on the radio, but another one that sounded interesting when I read the plot synopsis.

I started reading it last night and got 20 pages in, had no idea what was going on, and didn't think I cared.  I'd also run across three examples of what I considered to be clumsy word usage, so I was probably feeling a little hypercritical in the first place.  When I threw out the question on Facebook asking how long other people stick it out before they give up on a book, I got responses of page numbers well over 100.

What a lazy thing I must be.  Also, maybe I shouldn't start a book at 10:00pm.

1 comment:

  1. No way I would stick around for 100 pages of a sucky book. If it is not enjoyable by at least 30, I'm out. Sometimes by 10 I am out. I have nothing to prove in my pleasure reading.