I have read a few books so far this year but the most memorable so far has been The Bell Jar.
I’ll say it again: I just finished reading The Bell Jar. I’ll have to do a separate post on it once I’ve processed and digested but I thought it was fucking amazing. But get this, I didn’t realise it was a novel. I bought a copy second hand last year, picked it up and saw it was prose, not poetry. I’m not a poetry reader, not at all so I was happy it wasn’t poetry, which meant I’d be more inclined to read it. Read it over the last two days. Wow. Just wow. What a writer. But everyone else knew that already I think. Shame that the focus is always on her suicide and Ted Hughes rather than her magnificent and beautiful prose. Wow.
I was several chapters into a re-read of Catchers in the Rye this evening but my sixteen-year-old daughter has taken it off to bed with her (along with The Bell Jar). I think it was my mention that Leo Di Caprio circa Basketball Diaries would have been PERFECT to play Holden Caulfield. Witness:
I think that’s what did it so she’s in bed, the light’s still on and I reckon she’ll struggle to get to sleep. So I’m going to go onto Catch-22 which I’ve never read.
I was googling around and came across this via facebook:
A comment thread started by the First Tuesday Book Club team, asking the question ‘what’s the book you just can’t finish?’ I have a few that I’ve put down, and it’s no surprise there are some common intersections between this list and my own unfinished reads. I did a quick stats break-down. I think these types of facebook and blog comment threads are fascinating. When you have three hundred comments from Australian readers stating what their favourite books are, or the ones they couldn’t finish, it’s interesting and useful. And potential marketing information, if I was a marketing type. Which I’m not.
So to my sublist taken from the FTBC comment thread – [Insert methodology statement here, which is: Some of the titles have a numeral, this indicates how many people in the comments ‘nominated’ it as a difficult to finish/unfinished book they’ve tried. Mostly, I haven’t listed the author cause you all should know and I’m lazy.] Here’s the list:
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – James Joyce (have it, read it at uni, but not ‘properly’ though. Remember enjoying it though.)
The Bible – 2 – have it, haven’t read. Naturally.
Love in the Time of Cholera – 2 – have it, read it, loved it
The Satanic Verses – 2 – don’t have, would like to try and read
Ulysses – 4 – have it, have tried many times. Would like to finish. Have audio, it helped a lot.
Midnight’s Children – 3 – have it, have tried to read a few times. As someone says in the comments: Salman Rushdie’s books always start so well…
Carpentaria – have it, haven’t tried to read yet
Moby-Dick – 4 – have it, haven’t tried to read yet
War & Peace – 5 – just bought it, haven’t tried to read yet
Oscar & Lucinda – 2 – have it, read it, didn’t mind it
The Slap – 2 – have it, read it
Portrait of a Lady – have it, haven’t tried to read yet
The Brothers Karamazov – have it, tried to read, stalled
Possession – have it, read it, liked it
The Dice Man – have it, read it, loved it (come on, I was in my 20s)
The Book Thief – don’t have it, haven’t read it
Eat, Pray, Love – 5 – don’t have it, don’t want to read it, might ‘hate read’
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – don’t have, want to read. Read excerpt in a slender volume and ‘interest was piqued’
Atlas Shrugged – 3 – don’t have, want to read. As a commenter said (paraphrase): ‘Anything by Ayn Rand is bad’. I read and enjoyed The Fountainhead.
Catch-22 – 2 – see above
A Suitable Boy – I have it, I don’t think I finished. No I didn’t.
Paradise, Toni Morrison – don’t have, would like to read. Maybe.
The Accidental Tourist – have it, read it, loved it
We Need to Talk About Kevin – have it, read it, it was ok
Illywacker – have it, read it years ago. LOVED IT.
Anna Karenina – 3 – have it, stalled around when Levin is on the land and marries Kitty
Shantaram – 2 – have it, stalled in the slum (or is it all in a slum?)
Stephen King’s IT – have it, read it, like it like most of his I’ve read (apart from latest stuff, won’t go near. Sorry Stephen, I love you)
The Pale King – 2 – don’t have, want to read
Wolf Hall – 4 – have it, stalled
Travels with my Aunt – don’t have, might read. Might.
The Name of the Rose – have it, haven’t tried to read
A Prayer for Own Meany – have it. I’m sure I tried to read. But didn’t. IN the comments it says many people think this his best book. Can’t be better than Garp, Hotel New Hampshire, Water Method Man and 158-Pound Marriage. No way.
Beatrice & Virgil – have it, loved it. I’m convinced I’m the only person in the world who liked it.
Captain Corelli – have it, probably tried.
Infinite Jest – have it, am stalled around page 200 I think. Intend to get back to it.
Jasper Jones – have it, read it. Enjoyed it.
Wuthering Heights – have it, and have read many times and ADORE
Middlesex – have it, tried it, failed
The Sound of One Hand Clapping – have it, tried it, didn’t finish
So I’m thinking this might be my 2013 reading, sort of. Loosely. I would like to read the ones on the list that I own. I might start with that. I like a plan. This will help me stop buying books for a little while.