Friday, May 14, 2010

Giving up

I do hate to give up on a book, but I think I'm going to have to put Vanity Fair back on the shelf until a later day (or better edition).  The surgery didn't help, as I was too stoned to comprehend anything more complex than "Do you need more water?" and therefore went quite some time without picking it up.

It's not that the book is boring, per se, so much as that it requires a more in-depth knowledge of early 19th century London than I currently have.  So I find myself constantly flipping to the end of the book, which is incredibly annoying.  What's wrong with footnotes?  If it's so vital that you need to include a note on it, shouldn't you include it on the SAME DANG PAGE?  But also, please don't give away the plot in the notes.  This edition kind of did, which also makes me not as eager to finish it.  (When I was in college, a professor forbade us from reading the footnotes of a particular novel, as they freely discussed the plot and would ruin it.  I accidentally read one, which gave away the whole ending.  Lame.)

Of course, on the flipside of that is the completely unnecessary notes.  "In the manuscript, Becky goes on to say..." is not really something I need to know.  I'm not reading the book to learn everything I possibly can about the process of writing it, nor am I reading it to determine how thorough the editor's research was.  I just want to read the book.  THOSE are the notes that belong at the very end of the book.

So yes, I'm moving on.  I'm currently in the middle of both The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Tennis Shoes among the Nephites, the latter being really rather terrible thus far.  FH reminds me that it is a children's book, but I say that has nothing to do with it.  Harry Potter is ostensibly a children's series, and I think it's wonderful, so there.  I think the mark of a really good children's book is that it doesn't talk down to them, but instead invites them to step up to a higher level.  (One of these days I'm going to make a vocabulary test to show how not-childlike the language is. Also, my kids will be extra cool because I have the British edition, so it will be multicultural, too.)

What are you reading?

8 comments:

  1. I had to give up on A Tale of Two Cities for the same reason. I was disappointed with myself, but comforted myself with the fact that I'd really gotten Anna Karenena (sp?). I love the whimsy of all the Oz books! My favorite was the galss can with the brains. "You can see 'em work!"

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  2. Oh man, you have to get fully halfway into A Tale of Two Cities before it gets interesting. But then it's so good!

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  3. I hate foot- and endnotes, but footnotes are definitely preferable. If they're at the end of the book, I usually don't bother with them out of spite.

    What book was it that you were supposed to read without the footnotes?

    I'm reading Toni Morrison right now, since I'd only ever read one of her lesser-known books. Just finished The Bluest Eye and I'm about to start Beloved.

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  4. Wilkie Collins's "The Moonstone." It's often called the first mystery novel, and the stupid footnotes ruined the mystery. But it's so hard to resist the tiny numbers, crying out for me to read more information.

    I think Toni Morrison's a little overrated.

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  6. I haven't made a lot of progress yet with Beloved, but I do like her style.

    Did you like The Moonstone? I've been meaning to read Wilkie Collins for a long time but I haven't gotten to it yet.

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  7. Yeah, The Moonstone is pretty good, although Woman in White is perhaps more famous. And "mystery" is used pretty loosely; it's not exactly Agatha Christie.

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  8. I'm still in the middle of Moby Dick and am likely to be for a few years. SO BORING and not at all contiguous.
    I am re-reading the Wheel of Time series, all twelve books. It's a little thick in the middle but a well conceived storyline.
    Also, I just finished The Hunger Games books one and two and am REALLY excited for #3 which comes out this fall. Look for it in the YA section.

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Be nice.