Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Time's thievish progress to eternity.

While reading Gone with the Wind these past few days, something dawned on me.  Although one of the most popular novels of all time, as well as one of the most popular movies of all time, I don't really know what it's about.  I must admit, I've never seen the movie, so most of my knowledge is limited to knowing that Clark Gable says 'damn,' while not wearing an undershirt.

I did, of course know, that it was set during the Civil War and that it follows Scarlett O'Hara.  And I know about Rhett Butler.  But I don't really know the back story, nor do I have any idea as to what's going to happen.  In a way, I consider myself both lucky and rare.  I'm sure there are few people today who can read this book for the first time and really not know what is going to happen.  And this ignorance is making for a more enjoyable and interesting read.

When reading this rather lengthy book, I must compare it to Infinite Jest, the only other book from The List that I've read so far, that is even close in size (Infinite Jest weighed in at a hefty 1,076 pages, to Gone with the Wind's 959).  Many of the same problems I had with Infinite Jest are present with my current read.  First off, the book is huge, making it difficult to carry around.  It doesn't really fit into any pockets, or even into a briefcase.  And like Jest it's difficult to read because of it's size; it's heavy and awkward.  Reading in bed is tough, because it's hard to hold the book up over my head for any length of time.  Sometimes, if I do hold it up too long, I can feel my arms falling asleep at my elbows.  Seriously.  Really I have to read this one at a table so I have somewhere to put the book down.

But unlike Infinite Jest, I'm really enjoying reading Gone with the Wind.  When reading Wallace's 'gargantuan' read, I found it difficult to stay involved in the story or the characters, making any progress slow and tedious.  My mind set was always to just read, in order to finish it.  So far, with Gone with the Wind, I'm interested in what's going to happen, so I'm reading quicker and enjoying my time spent doing so.  Reading it isn't a chore, but rather a pleasant diversion; just like a book is supposed to be.  But, it's still almost a thousand pages long, so it'll probably take me close to a month to read.  I had earlier projected finishing around May 16th, but that banks on a 50-page-per-day pace.  I'm starting to doubt I can keep that pace up as I'm already 100 pages behind.

So let me revise my predicted finishing date of May 16th, to June 1st.  That's a little more reasonable, or rather a little more realistic.

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