Sunday, August 28, 2011

From Books To Blah

Have you ever gone through a stage of really looking forward to reading a book only to find that part way through your anticipated joy has turned to blah.  I am currently in that place with a couple a books right now.

Often in the past I have picked up and started a book only to place it back on the shelf, bookmark in place, never to reach for it again - though I continually promise myself that I will pick it up again just to finish the thing.  I have quite a number of books with raggedy old dust-covered bookmarks wilting where they had been once proud virile things.

Often I am not disappointed - the book may have been one I have had for ages - whether new or second hand - or one that I really wasn't too keen on picking up in the first place.  Often it is a case of having too many books on the go at the one time that I neglect all.

However, currently I have two tomes that have reached the blah stage - and both were books that I was really keen to read.

The first is "Heretic Lives: Medieval Heresy from Bogomil and the Cathars to Wyclif and Hus" by Michael Frassetto.  Now for some strange reason I have not been able to "get into" this book despite being interested in this area of history.  I am sure it is not fault of the author - afterall the subject matter is hardly boring and has been the cause of many important historical events.  Yet I just can't progress past the first 20 pages.  I will attempt again - though when is the question.

My second book is "Marguerite of Navarre - Mother of the Renaissance" by Patricia & Rouben Cholakain.  I don't mind telling you I paid more than I normally would for this book (hardcover) as I had not seen it before in any of the book shops that I regularly haunt (yes, I still shop in person in shops where you can physically touch the product).  Marguerite was an amazing woman in a time that was constantly changing - so I eagerly anticipated sitting down and getting to know her more.  

But since December 2010 I have only managed to reach Page 117.  Far from being a straight-forward biography of a remarkable woman, this book interposes an analysis or comparison of her books "The Heptameron" with current events in her life. So as her life unfolds on the pages before us, the authors then compare these events with the stories told in "The Heptameron" - with the usual proviso of "only the names have been changed, etc etc" - to see where or how Marguerite came to write these stories.

Maybe this is where I am losing interest.  Maybe had this been a straight-forward biography I would have been more inclined to continue.  But as the authors divert our attention, so too does my attention wane and interest decline.  Quite possibly it might have been more interesting as an appendix at the conclusion to discuss Marguerite's works with key events in her life.  I cannot say - but I shall persevere8965567y.

Or maybe it just time for a change of subject matter - something of the "fluff" variety to give the "little grey cells" a break - or a new challenge.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I understand completely how you feel about the many books you begin to read but never finish. Before I purchase a book I try to read several reviews, but even that does not always help.

I tried to email you a question about the quotes of Elizabeth I but the email does not work. After reading about 100 quotes by her, I am still unable to find the one I want. It is longer than the usual ones that are quoted. It begins with her stating how beautiful the world is, but ends on a bitter note, with her saying that all this beauty may make it easier for her to tolerate this terrible world.(poor paraphrasing, but I can't remember the quote any more than this.) Do you know to which one I am referring? Thank you. blueapple2601@gmail.com

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