Why do we struggle to read some books?

Recently I tried to read The Road by Cormac McCarthy… and it was my second attempt. I started it with a determination to actually finish it this time, but I just couldn’t do it. I really really wanted to see what all the fuss is about as so many people really seem to like it – everyone from Oprah to the Pulitzer Prize and in between.

But me…I just couldn’t do it. I got to about page 10 and could not for the life of me concentrate on the book. My mind wanders as I read the paragraphs, I have this buring desire to skip ahead and see if the entire book is like this, and just all in all AVOID the current page in front of me. I have been thinking about whether it was a result of being tired before I go to bed (which is usually the time I read fiction), or if it was the writing style, the pace, or what.

It was probably a combination of a few things that prevented me from finishing the book, but one thing I have to comment on is the writing style of dialogue. Lately, I have noticed that authors omit quotes around dialogue, or just have no dialogue in the story. I grew up writing, and still write, with character dialogue in single (‘ ‘) or double (” “) quotes. I’m not sure which is actually right, I guess there are many ways to do it depending if you want to be ‘modern’ (single quotes) or post-modern (no quotes). It definitely does seem to be the trend to disregard quotes though, and let the reader assume the dialogue through the tone or slang. Quote-free dialogue was also a part of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which I really liked, but still took a few pages to get used to.

Anyway, I know it’s not only the quotes that bothered me about The Road – part of it is that you have to be ready to read certain books, and not force it! One day I’ll try it again, it’ll be third time lucky I think…

Books I read in 2008

I like to read – a lot. In 2007 I started keeping track of all books I read, and 2008 is the first full year that I know exactly which books I’ve read. It’s neat to go back through my Moleskin notebook that lists all books I’ve tackled this year – and even to recall books I had already forgotten about! So without further ado, here is my list of 2008 books (over 30 in total!):

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