09 March 2005

Coming clean

Bookninja points us in the direction of Paul Wells, who helps us admit that we're all-too-often stuck on the same page:

It is a dark burden to bear, this business of not finishing books. You start out with all the goodwill in the world. You flip the pages diligently. Your circle of acquaintances expands by a dozen or more as this cast of made-up people enters your life. And before you even find out how it all turns out for them, you set them aside. What's your problem?

You feel ungrateful, somehow. The author put his life into these people, and I can't even stick around to see who lives or who dies? And yet, as I stare at the books in my library, I realize I have become a serial book-unfinisher. [...]

Blame or credit for my setting a book aside lies with nobody but me. Quality has nothing to do with it. I've cheerfully abandoned some of the great books of the English language. I read Tortilla Flat and Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday and The Pearl by John Steinbeck. But The Grapes of Wrath? Abandoned at page 176. This time there was actually a reason. Steinbeck was starting too many sentences with "and." And it was getting on my nerves. And it was turning into a cheap gimmick. And I'd had enough of it. And I know that's a lame reason. And I don't care.


Each of those books on my nightstand are excellent (although I feel the Ondaatje is rather sterile)--I'll finish them at some point. My excuses ("I just don't have the mental space right now" and its variants) basically boil down to good ol' fashioned procrastination: I either don't feel like it or I just don't want them to end. But to be perfectly honest, the past couple of weeks have found me on a Harry Potter kick--I've been rereading them all one after the other. Right now, I'm in the middle of Goblet of Fire. So many clues, so little time!


molrendiel said...

Who is the HBP? Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I was initially thinking it would be great if it were Malfoy--some kind of cover-up about how pure his bloodline was, etc., etc., but I think it's virtually impossible b/c of the way he's been written so far. It's maddening! I'm so excited for this book that, frankly, I'm trying not to think about it!

amcorrea said...

I originally thought it was Viktor Krum. But with all those aforementioned clues, I'm not so sure...

The fansites are aflutter with new speculations since the release of the cover art. Snape's name is now popping up as the poss. HBP (due to the potions book on the adult UK cover). I like the notion that the US cover could be depicting when Harry witnesses what really happened the night his parents died (through the pensieve). And it's hilarious to think that JKR might've been thumbing her nose at the whole "Pillar of Storgé" fiasco with it too!

We Rhinelanders have been speculating here: http://www.overtherhine.com/orchard/index.php?showtopic=2580&st=25