Regretting the Pickwick Pick

Date: 26 January 2013

Books Completed: 14     

Books Left: 186

I think this is a pretty good pace to make 200.

In my last post I mentioned that I was starting On the Way Home. Totally had a better appreciation of it now than when I was a kid. Wilder’s Little House books were written with child readers in mind. Laura’s travel diary was written with no intended audience. Why should this be interesting? Anne Frank, whom I consider to be the ultimate diarist, wrote her original diary with the view that it would make an interesting record of life in the annex. Then, from a radio broadcast, she got the idea that it could actually be published after the war. The Diary of a Young Girl known to the world is her revised diary. Revised by Anne herself, but written with an audience in mind. Laura’s diary was written for herself, so why should anyone, much less children, find it entertaining? Laura could be more interesting in her personal writing–her letters to her husband as published in West From Home attest to this fact. But when writing for herself alone, why bother do anything other than relate uninspired events in a flat, matter-of-fact way.

On to other business. For about as long as I can remember, I’ve read more than one book at a time. I’ve got about 5 going now, and I try to keep them pretty diverse. I’m reading one children’s book I’ve not read before and one that I have. I’m also reading one grown-up fiction and one g-u nonfiction (both new to me). Plus, one classic I’ve not read yet. I thought I would talk about that one tonight.

For some reason, I decided to read The Pickwick Papers by Dickens. Actually, I do know why. Louisa May Alcott, and the Little Women characters, as well as LM Montgomery, and the Anne of Green Gables characters, were admirers of the book. I appreciate those authors and characters, so I thought I’d give it a try. Yikes! Little did I know it was over 700 pages long. 700+ pages of a 19th century British male sensibility that I just don’t get. I know it was originally a serial, but really, the book is just far too long. Far too much eating, drinking, gentlemen getting their feathers ruffled and unruffled, outrageous and unrealistic characters, and overblown satire of the legal profession. Not to mention Dickens’ penchant for using 500 words when a dozen will suffice. Oh well, the whole book (at least the 530 or so pages I’ve read so far) is an ironic exercise in moderation so I suppose it’s only fitting that it goes on interminably–even if I do want to shout “Got it Charlie–move on!!!” from the rooftops. I am determined to finish it and cannot wait until that happy day arrives!

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Date: 21 January 2013

Books Completed: 10 

Books Left: 190

Finished 2 books today–Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster and Susannah of the Mounties by Margaret Dennison. I read Susannah as a kid (and MANY times since) but Long Legs was new. I chose to read it because the characters in Dear Pen Pal, of the Mother-Daughter Book Club series, read it and I had never even heard of it. Completed it in two days and totally enjoyed it. I intend to read some more of Webster’s work.

Started On the Way Home by Laura Ingalls Wilder today. I recently finished The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure. In her book McClure describes her adult facination with all things LIW after loving her books as a kid. McClure spends some time addressing many aspects of On the Way Home. I got my own copy of it just a few months ago. I remember trying to read it as a kid and not faring well. I liked the beginning and ending by Laura’s daughter Rose, but could not get into Laura’s diary. Much easier to do now. Since I didn’t really read the entire book as a kid I’m counting this one as new.