May 17, 2012

by English Muse

Some books are hard to write about.  I began making my way through my to-read list last week, and Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being was the first I checked off.  I tried to write about it and realized my mixed feelings made a short response impossible.  I loved the story, some of the philosophizing, and the characters, but in a good bit of the philosophical spurts, I was frustrated.

Other books have presented me with a similar quandary: Anna Karenina (loved it, but what can I say that hasn’t been said?), Everything is Illuminated (mixed feelings), Absalom, Absalom (couldn’t stand it, but knew it was brilliant), The History of Love (simply left me speechless), and more.

This sudden impossibility of saying anything about a book that I’ve just read and can’t stop thinking about leaves me wondering why certain books have this effect and not others.  Was I simply not ready for the book?  Am I not intellectual enough to verbalize my thoughts about these works?  Did I miss that something that would bring the work all together and let me write?

As always, I’m curious to hear from fellow bibliophiles: what books, if any, are hard for you to write or talk about after reading?


Have a lovely Thursday, friends, and see you next week!

~Katie (unwritten, untitled)

[image 1 by munir on flickr/image 2 from one cover of The Unbearable Lightness of Being/image 3 by jacQuie.K on flickr]


This entry was posted on Thursday, May 17th, 2012 at 8:00 am. It is filed under Books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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3 Responses to “Hard Books”

  1. Melissa says:

    I’ve struggled with this so many times. I review almost everything I read on my blog and sometimes I just hit a wall. Moby Dick was a really hard one for me. Also, like you, ever Faulkner book I’ve read (including Absalom, Absalom has been hard). His writing is amazing, but it’s hard to follow and I never actually like his characters. Other times I’m so emotionally connected to the book that I almost don’t want to talk about it and dissect it.

  2. Leigh says:

    The books that touch me deeply are the ones that resonate in my soul. you feel with your soul in a way that we have no language to adequately express. To try to analyze a story that was absorbed and became a part of you, in my opinion, kills it’s magic. You are just protecting it possibly, without realizing it.

  3. Thomas says:

    I think the ‘point of no-return’ with a book can appear at any time, the landmark where you realise that the book your reading will stay and last in your mind forever. It doesn’t (thankfully, and shouldn’t) happen with every book, yet for the novels that really affect something deep inside you, whether it reminds you of the past, or illuminates a little of what could possibly happen if you changed your way of living, talking about it or even describing it non-chalantly can ensure it’s magic is lost and it’s personal effect on us can vanish.. I also feel this way about certain films that change my way of thinking.

    Sometimes a book affects us in such a strong way that intellectualising the themes of the passages or describing in general the meaning of the novel ruins the magic woven in between it’s lines.

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