Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The book Vanity Fair is Killing Me

I think most people are aware of the BBC Book list.  It is said that most people have only read 6 out of the 100 books.  I am not so sure about that because most people I know have read way more than that but maybe I just associate with well-read people.

One of the books on the list is "Vanity Fair" by William Thackeray.  Well, at least I think that is how I got it on my "to read" list but looking over the BBC list today, I can't see it there.  Anyway, it is on my "to-read" list and I decided to tackle it about a month ago.  It was free on my Kindle.  I like my Kindle.  I don't love it but there are a few things about it that make it better than a "paper" book and I have come to appreciate my Kindle.  One of the things I don't like about it is that I can't really feel how far I have read into a book.  On a Kindle,  it is all about percentages and do I like that but there is something about feeling the heft of a book change in my hands that is very satisfying when I read it.

So, for the last month or so, I have been reading Vanity Fair.  It was written serially, like many of Dickens' great works.  I have decided that Dickens is a much better serial writer than Thackeray.  (I have read most of Dickens' works but not all.  Maybe, I'll finish him this summer.)  Honestly, there have been times when I have said out loud, "Enough already.  I don't need all of this extra information and description."  I get they were often paid better by making a story be drawn out and I value capitalism but honestly, in Vanity Fair it is just too much.

Normally, I read a book in about a week.  I am coming up on one month with this book and I am at 61 percent.  It is killing me.  I have come to hate the characters, and rejoice when someone dies so I can be rid of them and maybe the story will take a different turn.  The moral objective of this work has been very obvious from almost the first page, so I am not feeling like I am gaining any great moral understanding or advantage by pressing on.  But I am 61 percent through the blasted thing, so I will finish it.  After this, I need something easy and less wordy.  I won't be tackling War and Peace anytime soon.  It is on the BBC list, but I'll save that for next summer, when Vanity Fair is an old memory.

(If you are wondering, I've read 32 books on the BBC list.  I highly recommend, I Capture the Castle.)

1 comment:

jo said...

Best of luck on the last 49% of Vanity Fair. I've been there. Bleak House was like that for me, which ironically is on the list and is a Dickens novel. Go figure.

Just for fun, I checked out the list and I've read 29 of the books, and if you count those that I've begun but stopped (for the reasons you describe) I've almost read 32. Ha ha.