I knew even before I started that The Big Sleep wasn't going to be my cup of tea. But, since so many you love the book and think that Chandler is a master at what he does, I at least thought that I could appreciate it for what it is. I was wrong. By page 94 (of 231) I was so bored (and annoyed) by all the sexy dames and the corny, clichéd, Cagney-like dialogue I couldn't imagine enduring one more minute of it.
What is worse is that my urge to check this one off my list was so strong that I kept forcing myself to plod through it at the expense of other more interesting books. So to save myself the boredom and free myself to read other things I put the library reading copy into the DNF (did not finish) pile. Meanwhile, I put the beautiful Bill Amberg edition back on my shelf next to the others. But in my mind I put the title in a new DNR (do not resuscitate) pile. I won't be giving this one a second go. I will never be in the mood for it.
Another book joining the DNF/DNR piles
After a run of good books recently, I was a little nonplussed that The Big Sleep wasn't the only book that was slowing my reading pace. Although I found bits of Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther charming, it is more of a collection of vignettes than it is a novel and it just wasn't enough to keep my attention.
When the Forward is more like a Forewarned
I normally don't normally read forwards or prefaces and for good reason. As much as I tried, I could not get into Margaret Bonham's collection of short stories, The Casino. I fear it was the preface that did me in. It was written by Bonham's daughter Cary Bazalgette and told how Bonham was an unfeeling, neglectful, abandoning, selfish, self-involved mother. Normally this wouldn't have much of an effect on me but when slivers of the truth emerged in the stories I had a hard time having any sympathy for the some of the characters. I may return to this one at some point but no time soon.
Lucky me I finally finished Lucky Jim
Another "this should have been my thing" kind of book but my overall impression was ambivalence at best. I had even read half of this book many months ago and lost interest. When I picked it back up, I decided to start over. I enjoyed it slightly more, but not enough to care. Frankly, I think David Lodge does the comic academic novel better than Kingsley Amis, yet Lucky Jim is on the Modern Libraries list of the top 100 novels of the 20th century. Hmph.
Virago saves the day
I guess I could characterize this all as a reading slump. After all the Struthers and the Bonham should have been right up my alley. But it didn't feel like a classic slump--the urge to read was too strong. The Janet Frame book I mentioned last week was part of pile of stuff that wasn't doing it for me. But I also have two or three started that just aren't going anywhere for me. After The Ladies of Lyndon, I had a strong urge for another Virago but was resisting picking up another one because I wanted to do a bit of clean-up by finishing all of the books in progress. When I realized the effect this was having on my urge to read I tossed them all aside in favor of The Tortoise and the Hare by Elizabeth Jenkins which I am loving. Thanks Virago.
When good trees go bad
Last Friday we had quite the storm in our neighborhood. I say our neighbhorhood because it really was a bit of a microburst that didn't seem to have much effect on adjacent neighborhoods or the rest of the city. Three doors down and across the street from us, one giant oak decided to attack two houses. Thakfully the big storm that hit the DC area this weekend didn't do too much in our neck of the woods.
More of John's garden...
|That's Lucy in the background|