So you may remember that I finally got underway with Project Book Jar and that the first book to be picked out was this:
Something I started last year, got a few pages into and then left on a shelf, got sick, moved house and completely forgot I’d ever even picked it up.
You’ll be pleased to hear that my 2nd attempt at reading it was more successful, in that I actually finished it this time (hurray!) BUT, it took me 3 weeks. THREE WEEKS! Have you seen the size of the thing?! It’s like 200 pages or something. I just read it a chapter at a time pretty much. Which I guess is how normal folk may read, but it is not my usual style at all. I usually pick up a book and when I set it down the sun has risen and set again and I have forgotten my own name. That’s how it is with good books anyway.
Was this a good book? Ehhhh. It was ok. Some bits of it were really on the nose, so much so that I had a hard time believing it was written almost twenty years ago and not last month. There were a lot of really funny bits, astute observations about friendship and life in general….but…and there is a but…I didn’t LOVE it. Maybe it’s just me, maybe I read it at the wrong time. It’s a dangerous thing to pick up a book like Generation X when you’re already feeling disenchanted and disillusioned with modern society. I sort of nodded along with 75% of the content, the other 25% went over my head and when I finished I was left utterly depressed.
I then decided to forgo the Book Jar and read When Dan Lived in the Woods by Ben Wakeling- a book I’d picked up for free on my kindle a couple of weeks ago. I finished it in one afternoon while I was at the hospital having my IVIg infusion, although to be fair it is a short easy read, 3 hours is quick even for me 😉 It was a stark contrast to Generation X, in the sense that it wasn’t critically acclaimed, nor did it have massively convoluted long and rambling monologues…but in other ways it was similar, in that it was about opting out of society and all it’s bullshit and like with Generation X, I found myself massively sympathising with the main character. I think the trouble with reading something like Generation X such a long time after it’s publication is that it comes with so much baggage. People want to tell you how much they love (or hate) it, and you’re almost expecting to be profoundly moved by it in some way and then disappointed if/when you’re not. If I’d read it ten years ago it might have blown my tiny mind, but I was late to the party (again). These days I’m enjoying picking up things with no hype and no pretence, like When Dan Lived in the Woods and then being pleasantly surprised when I find myself engrossed and engaged with the story.
I’m now reading The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen on my kindle, so something totally different but I’m really enjoying it so far (just a few pages in!)
I will go back to the Book Jar for my next pick though, I promise. I’m just in a funny place with books at the minute and didn’t trust it to spit out the right suggestion.