Thursday, November 18, 2010

Who Wants To Live Forever?

Like most authors say at regular intervals, I started a new book the other day. The difference with me is that I'm not an author so I'm talking about the reading thing, not the writing part. It's called "Our Tragic Universe" by Scarlett Thomas and it captured me within the very first pages.

I think my reading, my appetite for all things literary and my sense of confidence in my own ability to appreciate books, has grown in recent times. So much that I find myself giving up on books that don't hold my attention. It feels like a reflection of my reader's maturity, gone are the days when I absolutely had to finish every book I began in order to judge whether I liked it.

It's kind of mad as well, the amount of time I, and you, must have wasted in reading books we didn't like. We spent those hours ploughing through only to get to the end and decide it was rubbish. If I could figure out a way of eliminating doing things in my life that I subsequently discover I don't like then I'll not only make some serious money but I'll also have total fun in spending it.

But would there be any joy without joylessness? Which came first, the chicken or the tree falling in the woods?

I digress, the thing is I had started another book a week ago. It was a book called "The Ask", in fact it still is a book called "The Ask", by a fellow called Sam Lipsyte. The reviews on Amazon led me to believe it's the funniest thing since The Inbetweeners or that story about no civilian casualties. I kid you not when I tell you that I wondered whether I'd feel uncomfortable reading it in public as I'd be laughing out loud so often. Sorry kids, laughing out loud means LOL, just so you know.

Halfway through this book I bailed. It just wasn't doing it for me. Yes, there were a few occasions when I'd lolled, albeit very quietly, but it seemed overcomplicated, as if the author wanted to come up with brilliantly wordy and sophisticated sentences the scholars would marvel at in years to come. The only snag being that old RD couldn't understand them.

I contemplated the abandonment for a few chapters, then did it when I was least expecting to. My sentiments, now at least, are that I might come back to the book at another time, one when I'm more intelligent and sophisticated, or I might just dip into it now and again to see if if grabs me. Such are some of the advantages of owning a Kindle.

Our Tragic Universe, which I've only just begun, isn't a ball grabbing tension filled fast paced page turner type. No, but it did get my attention, more in a gentle and sexy way, one that took a bit of effort then had me hooked.

The language is very British, the sense of self deprecating humour and understatement seems to be there and it's already flung several new and brilliant similes at me, ones I've forgotten straight away but may just be wallowing in my subconscious ready to spring out at a moment's notice. Like a thing, out of a whatsername.

I started this post because I wanted to share this one with you, it made me stop, gasp and think. It's really rather lovely and goes like this:

"Living forever would be like marrying yourself, with no possibility of divorce."

I'm off to the Motherland tonight.



Marc said...

have a safe trip and have a blast !

Jay said...

Have a safe trip boss, I am sure both Marc and his wife wish the same.

Magerata said...

You lucky dude, have a great time. on the subject of "Living forever would be like marrying yourself, with no possibility of divorce." I can always cheat!