Yesterday I commented on someone’s blog that I hadn’t read Douglas Coupland’s Girlfriend in a Coma because I found the subject frightening. Then I realized that the list of things I don’t want to read about gets longer all the time. It includes comas, head injuries, mental health problems, hospitals, extreme violence, car crashes: goodness, it goes on and on. What makes this interesting (to me, anyway) is that when I was young I read anything. I’d read most of the great classics, including ‘difficult’ books like Ulysses before I was twenty; nothing was too avant-garde or harrowing for me in those days. Now I’m struggling with Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder, which is being praised to the skies all around the book blogs. It is a very good book indeed but I’m finding Dr Singh’s trials in the Amazon jungle almost too much for me. I suppose that life has got in the way; that unpleasant experiences make a person less likely to seek them in fiction but rather to look for comfort and positive thinking.
In other book news I’m also struggling with ‘E M Delafield’s famous novel’ Humbug. Not that there’s anything frightening about it; it’s simply far too long and very dull. Who’d 'a thought it? I feel like starting on Christmas reading.