sexta-feira, novembro 09, 2018

Feel the Breeze Whip Around Your Nethers, Every Time: "1000th Post"

1,000 posts (649 book reviews - 65%) seems like one of those too-distant goals the self-help gurus like to advise us against. But my way of nibbling away at it, one awesome (I only write "awesome" stuff...) bit at a time, makes it seem a lot more attainable. 

I've always talked and wrote about non-panted writing. But there's another thing about the non-panted writing analogy: pantless, you feel exposed. If you're hitting Publish and you're not feeling that something in your post is just a little too much of yourself out there, something you care about a bit too much, something you feel insecure about, something that's a little too honest...then your blog post isn't as good as it "could" be.

(Per Books Publication date)

Is life is too short for books that will potentially be amazing but are probably not worth reading just in case they're not? Some books are not meant to be read purely for light enjoyment but for development of your own soul/mind/personality/whatever. "Infinite Jest" comes to mind, and I think this is exactly what David Foster Wallace was trying to accomplish: Learn to value the things that you don't 'enjoy' in life and it will make those that you do enjoy much more enjoyable!

Life is too short to waste time reading books which will leave you feeling empty or slightly sullied, however easy to read they may be and sometimes it's worth going through the boredom barrier to get somewhere enlightened.  While I can understand the importance of an easy, enjoyable and agreeable novel every now and then, surely it is equally important to challenge yourself every now and then with something that is something that is thoroughly difficult to complete. Case in point, I read Don't Quixote two years ago, and whilst it is at times a totally sublime and magnificent novel, it is also a total monster and at times drags you kicking and screaming through some passages. Without perseverance I'm surely many fail to get to the end of Cervantes' beast.

There might be a problem with fiction falling into line with everything else these days where the emphasis is on easy. Cheap, easy, safe, predictable, mainstream, recognisable, grey-goo. But that's kind of against the tradition of fiction isn't it where at least some popular writers used to be artists pushing the boundaries of ideas and language? Yes, you've got it. Life is too short. There are just too many excellent books. Read what you want to read. And don't you dare let anyone else guilt you about their particular favourite book that you haven't found the time for.

I mean, I'm not going to get all on your case if it turns out you haven't read Michael Connelly's above-average "Dark Sacred Night" ...  something being a future classic, or popular or highly recommended, is not a reason to read it. It's a reason to try reading it. If, part of the way through it, the question, 'Why am I reading this?' pops into your head, that is complete justification for not reading any more of it. It is not for you. Stop wasting valuable reading time and find the books that are.  Many "classics" are so dry and dull it's like watching paint dry. Judge a book on its merits not its reputation.

Bottom-line: I'm a big fan of the page 69 rule. When I'm contemplating a book, I turn to page 69. I read it. If I want to keep reading (or, more realistically, if I keep on going to page 70 and up to 71), then I want to read that book. 69 is a good page. The author isn't trying to fool you with any first page trickery. The characters are established. The storyline should be in full swing. You aren't generally going to spoil yourself. What you get is a sense of writing style and mood. 

Feel the breeze whip around your nethers, every time.

I know you're not the first to think I really should be writing my own Great Portuguese Novel rather than write blog posts about books... For How Long will I be writing stuff here? No idea. If all of a sudden you don't see posts coming into your feed, you can safely assume I went into another plane of existence I'd say.

4 comentários:

Syl Sabastian disse...

"Some books are not meant to be read purely for light enjoyment but for development of your own soul/mind/personality/whatever." - Exactly how I fell about writing, and about reading. :) :D Good job on the reviews. :)

Bookstooge disse...

"'Why am I reading this?' pops into your head, that is complete justification for not reading any more of it"

Amen to that!

And if you give up blogging to go write the great novel, well, shame on you...

Manuel Antão disse...

@ Thx Syl.

Manuel Antão disse...

Indeed Bookstooge. I think I can safely say that there's no danger of inflecting The Great Portuguese Novel on my readers, wherever they're. I'm also quite sure you'd come to this side of the Atlantic and give me a thrashing I'd remember to my dying day...