Monday, November 14, 2005

I Wish You Much Joy of the Worm

Kathy points out that I read a lot of books that I don't seem to like. I wouldn't have said that, but when I think about what I say about the books I read, I guess that's kind of true. I think it's a factor of a few things, though: one that I'm pretty critical. Even when I'm enjoying a book on one level, I'm often pretty aware of its flaws on other levels, and I hesitate to say something that might sound like a recommendation for a book that I would only recommend to someone with very specific tastes.

Another factor is definitely that I dabble. I pick up things that I don't necessarily expect to like--things I'm curious about without very high expectations, or books about things that I want to know more about, without a lot of hope or expectation for them as enjoyable literature. I checked out a book called Mothers Talking, which was a collection of short first person stories from moms. I had read that it was a little more honest about the hard parts than other books, but I stopped reading after about four chapters, because it was very Chicken Soup for the Soul. I read The Art of War by Sun Tzu, which was very interesting, and actually a pretty good read, but which I don't think I'd run out and recommend as hobby reading to anyone.

I guess I'm following my curiosity more than anything. This is one reason it's important to me to read a lot; if I didn't devote so much time to it, I wouldn't want to waste the time trying things that might fail, and I'd go for the easy pleasures--maybe challenging as literature, but not different or educational in the way I want them to be. If you gave me a choice between another 1500 year old Chinese treatise on war or the new Jonathan Safron Foer book, I can't honestly tell you which I'd choose. Probably the war book, actually.

I'm just looking for a different kind of challenge than most people, I think. And maybe it's not a literary one. I think that's okay with me.

Oh, and I gave up on Sex and the City. It was too gruesome.

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