In my last post I was still optimistic that I would be able to accomplish my reading goal of finishing 100 books in a year. Now that it has taken me three months to read a book, I am not so sure. Yes people you read that right, it took me three months to read a book and it was not even a particularly long book! In my whole life it has never taken me three months to read a book. I am fixated by that number, THREE WHOLE MONTHS. I have been dwelling on how this has occurred and think I have figured out why. Yes I have a new job and was away for two months, yes it was the holidays and I was busy, but the real culprit is what is making me feel so disappointed in myself…my smartphone. While in San Francisco I started the bad habit of taking my phone to bed with me to check social media sites, check email and worst of all playing Hungry Babies (if you do not know what this is you are better off, it is addictive). I realized this was the downfall of my project when I brought the same book to Ohio with me at Thanksgiving and Christmas, another thing that had never happened. So my New Year’s resolution was to leave my phone in the living space and not take it to the bedroom, this way I could read before bed like I have done for as long as I can remember. This has worked out well so far and why I was actually able to finish Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie.
Please do not think my reluctance to read before bed or my snail’s pace at finishing Midnight’s Children was in any way a reflection of the book itself. In fact this is one of the reasons I started this project, to read a book I would not typically read, to read a multitude of different genres and voices that I would not be drawn to in a bookstore or library and Midnight’s Children is the perfect example of that. This novel is a story within a story, which I like as a literary device. We are dependent upon the narrator’s somewhat failing memory to provide us with all the minute details of his life from birth to his pending death. While reading you learn a lot about India herself, a time of transition to independence and what it is like to grow up a privileged “special” male born during that time. By pure accident he realizes that he and all of the other children of India born between 12:00am and 1:00am are “special”, making them the Midnight Children. I really enjoyed Rushdie’s writing style and storytelling ability; funny yet sad, embellished stories from a failing memory yet as honest as he can possibly be. Even though it took me so long to finish the book, it is in no way a testament to its 533 pages. I highly recommend this book, especially if you enjoy a flashback/flashforward type of storytelling.
Next up Ulysses by James Joyce and to recap my journey thus far:
The Great Gatsby. Catch-22. On the Road. To Kill a Mockingbird. The Lord of the Rings. Lolita. The Catcher in the Rye. Midnight’s Children. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (one I have already read).