Thursday, August 19, 2010


Is it ok to recommend to someone only the second half of a book?

I just finished reading The Girl Who Played with Fire (by Steig case you've spent the past year living under a rock). 

It was a gift to myself after finally making it through Moll Flanders (by Daniel Defoe, in case you've been hiding under a rock since the 1600's).  That makes it sound like I was working on Moll Flanders for a long time.  Well, I wasn't.  It was probably only a week.  But it felt like eternity.  Eternity, I tell you.  In fact, if I had to think of a personalized version of hell, it would be that I'd be forced to read Defoe unceasingly.

It'd remained on my list for a while, and I took it as a sign when I found it in a stack of Blake's high school English books at his parents' house.  A sign that I needed to cross it off my list once and for all (for cultural and intellectual value, you see).  I asked Blake what he thought of it, but he said he couldn't remember it much (I realize now that it was due to terrible repressed memories).  So I started in.

About three Sentences in I realized I'd made a horrible Mistake.  That's right.  Other than teaching me that I have the right to Randomly capitalize Words, it was an Absolute Mess.  But since I've never let myself stop in the middle of a book, I kept going.  This was much to Blake's chagrin, seeing as this meant that I complained every time we commuted to work because I know that metro time is usually my reading time, and I dreaded reading about Moll and her Amoral, Uninteresting, Eye-Roll Inducing life. Such literary punishment I have never known.

Well, as Blake would say, let me tell you how I really feel.

I hated it. 

So I bought myself The Girl Who Played with Fire as a sort of reward (I also let myself have a large bowl of ice cream on the night I finished Moll Flanders...but that's a differerent story). 

And, well, I liked it.  The Girl Who Played with Fire, I mean.  Not Moll Flanders (in case you've spent the last couple minutes hiding under a rock). I'm not sure if I'd really feel comfortable recommending it to other people due to the language and explicit content, but I liked it.  Well, I really enjoyed the second half where the story picked up (and the fact that I've actually been to a lot of the places mentioned in the book helped, too). Not so much the first half where the characters were developed (um, let's say, explicitly).

I'll admit it, I got so hooked that I read it straight through SALT last night.  But it all worked out for me because the plot lines ended up being quite similar, so I don't feel like I missed out on either by dividing my cognitive time between them.

It was a good reward.

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