Not only is today World Book Day, it is also National Cereal Day which makes March 7 the best day in March. Hell the whole week is great; from Pancake Tuesday on the 5th to today to International Women’s Day on March 8.
I spend a lot of money on books, and even though I try to get used copies to save money, it can still add up. I recently decided to reread books that I have read before, and also try to finish books that I started ages ago but just could not bring myself to finish. First off was Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.. I quote Sylvia a lot on this blog, she just resonates so deeply with me and I could (and have) spent hours just reading quotes from her works. However when I first read The Bell Jar some years ago, I did not like it. Here was this book that was supposedly a classic and I just found it bleh. Nothing happened in the book, and to make things worse it ended so abruptly with no resolution. No I did not like the book at all. But still I continued to enjoy her quotes and identify with Ms. Plath. I read the book again this year, because why not, and I do not know what changed; maybe I am more mature. more depressed but I truly liked it. It was as if I was reading it for the first time. The concept of the Bell Jar is so relateable and I did not pick up on that the first time I read it. About my complaint that nothing happened, well I have read and immensely enjoyed Holden Caulfield in Catcher in The Rye, so I cannot really complain about nothing happening.
Inspired by the success of my reread of The Bell Jar, I decided to try another one- God Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo. I first heard of this book via the internet when I came across someone gushing about how this is the most romantic book they ever read. I read a hundred quotes from the book on goodreads and went and got the book. Well well I was just going to be disappointed wasn’t I. I did not like it at all and I wrote about it here. I am 300 pages into the reread and dearly beloved, my feelings have not changed. I don’t find it romantic and I dislike the characters and their love. I am still going to power through and read it to the end but I doubt my opinion is going to change.
The main book on the reread list is One Hundred Years of Solitude by the Great Gabriel Marquez. Even just looking at the book makes me sigh so deeply. Gabriel is a master writer and I am sure the book deserves all the praise it gets, but man oh boy it is just so hard to read. The language is beautiful, which could be in part because it is translated from Spanish, and also because Senor Marquez is a wizard with words. However as I have mentioned multiple times it is hard for me to read books that casually oscillate between different dimensions; where fantasy is mixed with reality without any fuss, as though a woman floating away is just a normal occurrence; magical realism/fantasy/metafiction or whatever it is called. (Harry Potter is the one notable exception, but at least in HP we know these things are happening because they are wizards). It is the same problem I have with Helen Oyeyemi and Haruki Murakami; talented writers but their books leave me exhausted, like climbing up a steep hill in heels.
I like simple books that have a beginning, peak, resolution. I don’t even mind more complicated books, but I absolutely, unequivocally do not like Metafiction. One Hundred Years of Solitude went on and on and on and it seemed there was no end in sight. Add in the supernatural things and it was a battle to read. I could not even make sense of the characters; every page there was a new one who was somehow related to everyone else and even had the same name. After a while I stopped trying to understand the characters and just trudged on defiantly. The book is hailed as a classic, so I felt a little pressure to finish it. Eventually I put the book day one day and never picked it back up. I am hoping that time will have changed my views and that I will appreciate the book more a second time around. If I do like it the second time around then I will go ahead and reread Love in The Time of Cholera, another one of Marquez’s books that I did not finish (I left this one in a taxi by accident but I probably would still not have finished it).
I very recently started Madame Bovary, and quickly tired of it. The story itself is probably interesting but I am just not engrossed by the book. Still I am determined to finish it, and I will get back to it once I’m done with the above.
So many books to get through. So much time to do so. Life is too short to persist with a book you do not like, but even books deserve a second chance.
Happy World Book Day 🙂