Monday, April 12, 2010

To Read or Not to Read

**************If I took the name Shandy, plucked the "n" and planted a "d" in its place, my name would grace the cover of this classic book.
You're probably thinking, so what.
Well, call me egotistical, if you like.
Read on, please. My intention with this blog post is to discuss the book itself.

**************The introduction to the book, written by Bergen Evans, speaks of the author, Sterne. "Sterne is not a thinker..."

On my computer, I searched CliffsNotes and found these endearing words penned by the author.
With the assistance of CliffsNotes, I can comprehend the complex writing of Tristram Shandy, the fictional author within the book, as he "digresses and yet progresses" with his life's story.
Without CliffsNotes to refer to, I fear I'd be quite lost.

The dedication reveals the humor and warmth of the author.

**************If I make it to the last page, page 674, well, I'll be surprised if I do.
During my last visit to the library, I purchased a book. The library accepts book donations and sells these to make money for FABL, Friends at Beloit Library. FABL gives financial support to the library for items the current budget is unable to cover.
For a mere fifty cents, I acquired a book from the classic section, namely, TRISTRAM SHANDY by Laurence Sterne. I trust you realize, at least in part, what drew me to this particular book. I was, as anyone would be, pleased to see a close approximation to my name on the cover. Furthermore, I selected a classic in hopes of finding one more key to this thing we call life. I often forego currently popular books in favor of tried and true volumes, books which have received great acclaim.
I’ve struggled with TRISTRAM SHANDY for a few days. I like it and yet I find it rather difficult to read and understand. Sterne’s book first appeared in 1759. That, in itself, explains a lot.
I put the book down at bedtime last night, promising myself I would read no more of it, ever. 674 pages of struggling seemed like an ignorant thing to do, regardless of any amusement I might glean from the process.
I intended to share my disappointment in SHANDY with you, put it out of sight or donate it back to the library and then find something much easier to read. My plan backfired on me. Blogging about the book has renewed my interest in it. Good grief!
I fear I’ve lost the battle at least for the moment. I’ll pick up TRISTRAM SHANDY in a few minutes and read on, at least for a while. Time will tell how far I get.
(In my previous blog, In Two Weeks' Time, I posted photos showing 2 weeks' growth in a few of the plants in our yard. I invite you to take a peek there if you are looking for something to do). :)
[To Lia: I sent you an e-mail regarding your blog].


Anonymous said...

I have such a hard time reading books written during any period prior to the 20th century.

Like you, I manage to muddle my way through, mostly out of my need to conquer the text and not allow it to conquer me. But maybe if I read enough of these old books, I'll begin to acquire a more fluent understanding of their style.

Good luck! If anyone can accomplish the task at hand it is you.

Shaddy said...

darksculptures: I'm grasping the meaning behind the flow of words more easily as I get into the novel. Although, it's still easy to forget what was written in the beginning of the many terribly long sentences by the time I get to the end.

The long, long sentences frustrate me and yet there's something challenging and satisfying when I can "conquer" them.

ONWARD AND UPWARD! I take courage from thee, darksculptures and go forth with renewed strength. (Dang, the writing style is smudging off on me. Alas, and yea, I fear for my sanity.)

Natasha said...

I've never read Tristram Shandy, and probably never will. There's so much contemporary fiction on my not-so-short list that is just screaming 'Read me! Read me first!'

But thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts with it.

Shaddy said...

Natasha: I hope you find time soon to read the books on your reading list. Reading should be fun; I tend to make it work at times. Sheesh and good grief!

Anonymous said...

This is brilliant Shaddy! I will read it, definitely. At least give it a try. It sounds very interesting. It's free on Amazon! For the Kindle. I know, not as nice as buying the real book, but it's nice to have the old ones like this available to us on the ereaders :)

I love this post honey, thank you.
Love you,

Shaddy said...

Sarie: If you decide to read it, I highly recommend that you refer to CliffNotes. Without their help, I'm often quite lost.

Free on Amazon! How is that possible? I haven't checked out the Kindle so I'm unaware of its advantages.

Neither of us will be out much if we don't make it to the end of the book.

P.S. I love that word "brilliant." All of the sudden my day is shining oh so brightly. Thank you for that.

Anonymous said...

This opened my eyes!
Hopefully will do the same to you!
Please see before you judge!


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Kirsten Lesko said...

I have a hard time getting through books I'm not in love with. If I'm not sucked in by about page 20, I find that trudging through it really impacts my ability to read other stuff.

When I was younger I traveled a lot and had so much time to read. I got through a lot of books I wouldn't have the patience/time for today. I think my writing and my mindset improved because of that time. I look forward to quieter days in my life so I can enjoy that again.

Shaddy said...

Kirsten: I should follow your example and put all books down that absolutely don't excite me. At my age, it's not like I've got a lot of reading years ahead. Well, maybe forty years is a lot. It sounds like I'm quite sure I'll make it to 90. Hmm...I hope so, I think! said...

a treasure sometimes takes some digging

Shaddy said...

Star: That's right! I have found some already in Tristram Shandy; I've chuckled on many occasions.

Thanks for stopping in and for your wise comment.

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