Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Don't read this book! But read another!

I’m a bit concerned that I’ve lost my way a little with this blog. I originally wanted to use it as a means of scribing my thoughts on books I had read, films that I’d seen and maybe the odd painting I’d enjoyed. Whilst this remains the primary purpose, I have started to pontificate somewhat of late, and whilst that is likely to happen again, (it’s obviously in my personality!) I feel it’s important to get back on track and fortunately I have finally defeated Nostromo by Joseph Conrad!

It has taken me about four weeks, and it is so heavy that you are physically drained after reading about five pages, and there are four hundred and fifty of them! Not since Charlotte Brontes Jane Eyre have I felt that a book was more about the author justifying their existence through using flowery loquacious language than about entertaining the reader.

The heroic Garibaldo accepted Nostromos abrupt departure with a sagacious indulgence. He remembered his own feelings and exhibited a masculine penetration of the true state of the case.

No, I haven’t a clue either.

I think the story is an observation of how the rich can misguidedly abuse the poor by raping their land (in this instance extracting silver) whilst justifying this by giving prosperity and peace to the natives. The central character is poor but works for the rich who are dependent on him, and rely on his vanity such that he doesn’t realise that he is being abused. Anyway, the penny drops and he looks to even the score but then he gets shot!

Don’t read this book. Please, please don’t read this book. Take the total of 24 hours (plus) which it will take you to read it, go paint a wall and watch it dry.

I’ve moved on to something a lot easier: A John Grisham. I have to be candid here and admit that if I could be any kind of author it would be one like Grisham: A rich one! By 2008 he had sold over 250,000,000 books!

It’s an interesting contrast, but whilst Conrad is acclaimed as one of the greatest british writers (err he was Polish) it has been written that his biography could have been called ’30 years of debt, gout, depression and angst’ culminating in a low point of a failed attempted suicide in 1878! Yes he kept his literary integrity, but it didn’t bring home the bacon!

I’m reading The Appeal by Grisham, and even the font size and width of the margins make it such an easy read. I started it on Sunday and I’m already on page 200. It really is for the masses, but it’s an enjoyable yarn and is that not at the heart of reading? But that’s the beauty of books, just like art and music, its all about choice and taste and we don’t have to stick within one genre. I love the variety but I fear that stories will ultimately be forgotten: When you buy a book and have read it, it remains physically on your bookcase, or leant to a friend, or even given to a charity shop. The point is, it continues to physically exist with the potential to be enjoyed again, and again and again.

But now, the book is under threat from the accursed Kindle (no I don’t like them!) and I’m concerned that stories, like music, will become disposable & forgotten, trapped beneath layers of download, and ultimately discarded when the memory gets full. You can’t smell a Kindle, wonder whose scribbles and underlines they are in the margins, pass it on, donate to a charity shop, have a favourite bookmark (which isn’t a bookmark but a ticket or receipt to something that brings a fond memory to the forefront of your mind) and you can’t show off your collection of Kindles.

Do the decent thing today, go buy a second hand book, or lend one out, or buy one as a gift for somebody. What’s that you say? My Birthday, why, its 4th April. Any orange-spined Penguin Classic will do!

No comments:

Post a Comment