A quick word about my star-rating system or rather the 2.5 rating in particular. In shorthand it means worthy but not for me. This can be due to beautiful prose which fails to engage me. I start reading but my eyes skim the words. Before 10 pages are through, I’m longing to read something else. The good news is that I’m prepared to continue reading to the end in the hope that it picks up. In most cases, I’m reading a book by a well-established, nay a world-class author, and I’m in a state of disbelief that I’m struggling.
Such is the case right now. The book has been on my library reading group’s list for a good couple of years and I was delighted when it finally came in. Written by someone heralded as the greatest living short story writer, the first third was very interesting, with humorous cameos of famous Scottish writers, Walter Scott and James Hogg. It may just inspire me to finally pick up The Private Memoirs and Confessions of A Justified Sinner. Since the author’s ancestors landed on the shores of Canada, however, there have been occasional flashes of brilliance – a few pages here and a couple of paragraphs there – but in general this read has become a slog.
I have a hundred pages left and I reckon it will take me about 6 sittings to finish it. 6 x 15 = 90 pages. OK, 7 sittings. Fortunately my book group doesn’t meet until a week tomorrow. I’ll make it.
The book in question? The View From Castle Rock by Alice Munro, a potential Nobel laureate. Good grief, what is wrong with me?