I’ve told you all about my best friend Erin, who has undertaken the challenge of reading every book on the list of “1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die” and to blog about her adventures in reading. I also told you how amazing I thought it was because I read some of the books on that list and they were BORING. Well…it seems for Erin’s first 17 selections, she scanned the list and chose the titles that I was least likely to read. In fact…the week she read Robinson Crusoe I lost interest halfway through the title…which, in its entirety, is…The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un‐inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver’d by Pyrates.
I mean, seriously? If I can’t make it through the title, how am I going to make it through the book? Let me tell you…there’s been a lot of Bronte Sisters going on over there and I can’t read that stuff without Cliff Notes. I know because I read Wuthering Heights again last year and it took me forever. I had to re-read a lot of pages and by the end I was just skimming it to get the gist. After all, I had read it before…I knew how it ended.
Anyway…Erin was 17 books in and I had read not one of those books and I have had nothing of substance to contribute in my blog comments. Instead, I have been forced to leave (somewhat witty and amusing) comments about how her choices are boring and how I’d like her to read something that I’m actually interested in so we can actually talk about a book once in a while. I’ve also registered these complaints (loudly) whenever we’ve spoken.
What I’ve really been hoping she would read is Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, which I loved and would totally read again along with her…but, basically, I’ve just been hoping for something written in the last 50 years.
Finally, last week I got my wish. I response to all my bitching, Erin’s selection of the week was The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. I was thrilled…because this book has been on my radar ever since it came out and I keep meaning to read it. Finally…Erin and I were going to read the same book at the same time!
Coming off the heels of Bossypants, I was happy to read something a little more “brainy”…well, maybe not brainy, but I was sure no one was going to talk about Sarah Palin rapping on Weekend Update, so it made me feel smart. Anyway…I dove right in and started reading…
After three days of reading I was only on page 88…and I didn’t think I could keep going.
See…I read to be entertained. I want something funny to make me laugh…or something suspenseful so I can try to figure out whodunit…or, at least, something that doesn’t make me so depressed that I want to hurl myself in front of the bus. The Corrections did not fit these requirements. The characters are all depressed and one is slightly creepy. They are all anxious and guilt-ridden and…just annoying. I deal with enough people in my day-to-day life that are annoying. I don’t want to be annoyed by fictional characters.
I made it to page 100. Then I stopped and started reading If You Were Here by Jen Lancaster…which is hilarious and I love it.
I used to feel like I had to read and like books that everyone else liked or that Oprah said I should like or that required a little more thought than the most recent Mary Higgins Clark (which I figured out after 20 pages)…especially with a best friend that reads Victorian literature for fun. But no matter how many times I try, I just really don’t like those kind of books. So give me chick lit or a trashy suspense novel any day!
I’m 25 books into my 101 List goal of 100…and when I’m finished and I look back and see my list filled with things like Bossypants by Tina Fey and My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster and Chelsea, Chelsea, Bang, Bang by Chelsea Handler…I know I won’t be any more enlightened for having read them…but I will know I laughed my ass off.
What do you guys like to read? Have you read The Corrections? Did you like it? What about The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake?…because I just didn’t get it at all.