I read a lot on vacation, but was for the most part disappointed. The best (non-poetry) book I finished was surely Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz. I’ve read many holocaust books so there wasn’t anything particularly mind-blowing in there, but I do appreciate his story, and his ideas on “the drowned and the saved,” which is also in his book of that name, which I read years ago. “Survival” is more personal, but also somewhat coolly observed.
Fiction was more disappointing. Crime and Punishment, I hate to say, was not my bag. I did like the structure – Dostoevsky was good at punctuating the narrative with episodes and creating interesting characters. Still, talk about pages and pages of repetitive inner turmoil. If it wasn’t Rodya, it was the insufferable Katerina Ivanovna (whose turmoil was more external and just as tedious). I thought it might be better to read a book about C&P, say a Freudian interpretation, rather than the novel itself. Apologies to the Russian lovers, whom I count myself among.
I was also disappointed by The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, and Wide Sargasso Sea! Then the long-awaited The Sheltering Sky, which pushed my feminist button so hard it hasn’t popped back out yet. Around that point my daughter got tired of asking me how was the book I was reading. And to think that last year around this time I was swooning over David Copperfield and Cloud Atlas.
I’m now reading Then We Came to the End, an entertaining pop culture novel. Still, at page 150 I’m wondering how a full 400 pages of office politics and intrigue is going to be sustained without any true anchor in the plot.
So that’s all on my reading downer. I do hope things improve, whether via better books or a better mood, which indeed could be the true source of my discontent.