The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

January 26, 2014

I tried, truly I did, but I find I cannot bear it

       His gloved fingers grasped the knocker, raised it, and brought it sharply down upon its anvil with the percussive report of a pistol shot.
As I sit here, in the sunlight warmth of my aging but resilient mother's trim and comfortable home, my eyes stray to the snow-kissed slope outside her shuttered windows.  This must be because I crave distraction from the new mystery novel I have been offered for review.  Its engaging premise drew me in, as did its intriguing historical basis, but the earnest, most likely well-meaning, author has instilled so many unnecessary flourishes and overwrought adjectives into his cluttered prose that I feel the need to emit a silent but anguished scream, and I'm only on page 3.

...The only illumination came from the stuttering light of a single gas jet turned low.
      'Just one moment!' [our hero] began to protest. 'Am I to be cast into the darkness?'

Yes, dear book, I am afraid so.


Lisa said...

That made me laugh out loud! I had much the same problem with Victor Hugo last week, and he too has been cast out into the darkness. Every noun had its adjective, every verb its adverb, and the amount of extraneous detail was mind-numbing.

Karen K. said...

Wow, those are some terrible quotes. But your posting is hilarious, so thanks for that.

Cosy Books said...

Oh dear, you must have been wrinkling your brow from the first page then. Sorry for the disappointment of what sounded like a promising read but oh you did make me laugh.

JoAnn said...

Ugh! I applaud your decision.

FleurFisher said...

A wise decision - there are too many wonderful books out there to waste precious reading time on such things.

Bellezza said...

i can't see that I'd blame you. Less is more, and Hemingway had it right when he said he wanted to write just one true, good sentence. In my opinion.

Thank you for visiting!

Card Catalog

#6barsets #emma200th #maisie #PalliserParty #Woolfalong A.A. Milne Agatha Christie Alexander McCall Smith Allison Pearson Amy Lowell Angela Thirkell Ann Bridge Anne Perry Anthony Trollope Anticipation Armchair Travels Art Audiobooks Barbara Pym Biography Bloomsbury Bookish things Boston British Library Crime Classics Cambridge Cathleen Schine Charles Dickens Coffee-table books Cookbooks D.E. Stevenson Deborah Crombie Donna Leon Dorothy L. Sayers Dorothy Whipple E.H. Young E.M. Delafield E.M. Forster Edith Wharton Elinor Lipman Elizabeth Gaskell Elizabeth Jenkins Elizabeth Taylor Elizabeth von Arnim Ellizabeth Taylor Emily Dickinson Ernest Hemingway Eudora Welty Fiction Films Food from Books Food Writing Found on a Blog George Eliot Georgette Heyer Helen Ashton Henry James History Homes and Haunts Ideas Imogen Robertson Isabella Stewart Gardner Jacqueline Winspear Jane Austen Joanna Trollope Julia Child Language Laurie Colwin Letters Library Books Literature Louise Andrews Kent Louise Penny M.F.K. Fisher Madame Bovary Madame de Sévigné Madame de Staël Margaret Kennedy Margery Sharp Martha Grimes Mary Shelley Memoirs Miss Read My Year with Edith Mysteries Nathaniel Hawthorne Nonfiction Nook Only Connect P.D. James Paris in July Persephones Plays Poetry Pride and Prejudice 200 Queen Victoria R.I.P. Reading England 2015 Ruth Rendell Sarah Orne Jewett Short Stories Switzerland Sylvia Beach Team Middlemarch The 1924 Club The Brontës the Carlyles The Classics Club Thomas Hardy Virago Virginia Woolf Washington Irving Willa Cather William Maxwell Winifred Peck Winifred Watson