Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Friday, May 16, 2003

Failure of the Day: Reading material

Well, the situation is quite desperate indeed. Having just been loaned 7 books by a friend, I thought I would be good for a while. I blazed through the first of the loaners, a novel called Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, which I liked just fine. I moved on to the second loaner, and that was a BIG mistake.

See, I'm really only interested in reading things that can help me in some way with my novel, which is to say I want to read about Women In Difficult Circumstances. So book #2 is Requiem For A Woman's Soul, a diary of a priest in South America who stumbles across the diary kept by a woman being tortured in the most horrible ways imaginable. It's a real diary, the woman is real and the events described happened.

I do most of my reading just before bed. Oops.

Suffice to say, that was not a good idea; Wednesday night, the night I started the book, I was awake for hours, haunted by what I had read, which was really only the first 37 pages, which are already the most awful thing I've ever seen. I decided to continue with the book, but only in the afternoons. So I still need something to read at night.

Most of the other loaners look swell, but they're not particularly relevant to my writing just now. (Chris disagrees; his perfectly reasonable point is that anything well-written will be helpful to me. He's probably right, but I'm stubborn as all hell.) So I'll read them in a few weeks, after I've exhausted the little train of thought I've been on for the last little while.

Last night I started Eleven Karens, which I picked up remaindered for $2.98 last month, despite the fact that it was released less than 2 months ago. It's a guy's life told through relationships with women named Karen, and that appeals to me from a structural point of view. Trouble is, it's asinine.

So I'm back to where I started with nothing to read. All I really want is a beautifully-written book about a woman with a lot a of diseases. And that's the trouble—that book isn't done yet.


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