Saturday, April 17, 2010

April 17, 2010

Ever have one of those wasted days? One where you have so many things planned and you somehow manage to get nothing done? Well, today was one of those for me. I started many projects, but everything seemed to fall apart.

The one thing I did manage to finish was my book for the day. Actually, it was my "fallback" so to speak after everything I tried to finish failed.

I think I may have been a little premature in saying that UNLESS by Carol Shields was not up to par to her Pulitzer novel. For now that I have completed it, there are many little turns of phrases that remain, which doesn't that often give how much I read. One comment that the protagonist makes:

"Novels help us turn down the volume of our own interior 'discourse', but unless they can provide an alternative, hopeful, course, they're just so much narrative crumble." (1st edition HB, 148-149)

This sentence spoke to me, especially given the day I had just endured, and I dwelt upon it for some time. I read so much, what is it that I am trying to "tune out" and I came to the conclusion that books, be they novels or non-fiction, take me away from the daily grind that is life and lead me to a place where they are all that matters. I am the type of person whose mind is constantly running in many directions at once, reading slows that down for me and becomes a sort of meditation where I only have to think about what I am reading for the time being. I don't now if I agree completely with the end of the quote because I am happy, most of the time, even after reading books that are mere "narrative crumble", sometimes that crumble is just what a reader needs to relax.

Oh well, enough of the waxing philosophical. UNLESS tells the story of a writer who is writing a light comedy novel and her qualms and joys in doing the deed. It also follows the story of Reta Winters, her husband and three daughters, one of which has become homeless on purpose. The story also speaks to the acceptance of women. This may seem like a fluffy read, but in Shields' capable hands the story reads more like poetry than prose. Although she does wrap things up in a little too tight a bow at the end, I still was happy with the read.


Until tomorrow, Good Night and Good Reading!

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