Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book 32-Tristram Shandy (46th book)

I despised book 32-Tristram Shandy and this was my second attempt at reading it. I only finished the novel because I am stubborn and for the sake of the list I am reading every last word, of every last book on this list. I originally picked up Tristram Shandy as a teen thinking that I would like the odd quirkiness of the novel with its strange black pages, and weird squiggles interspersed throughout but I had to put it down when I was part way through book 2 and he hadn't even been born yet!!!

This time around I got angry right about the same point I did as a teen and wanted to give up. Thankfully  I persevered because it did get better, not much, but at least it got bearable.

The book makes frequent reference to Don Quixote and though  hated that novel more than this one I am becoming increasingly glad that I read it. I am not aware of what the frequent references to the book mean and have a point of reference for the varied references that are made to the characters and famous scenes from Don Quixote.

The quote that spoke the most to me from this book was one that made me angry. It made reference to the fact that this entire novel is a series of completely inane tangents, but that it was a good thing. I read that sentence and decided right than that I would write an angry rant of a book review involving the use of this quote:

"digressions, incontestably, are  the sunshine;-they are the life, the soul of reading"

NO!!!! Emphatically no! When I read I want food for thought and deep substance or at the very least complete fluff that allows me to escape the world. This book is just really not fun to read, although it did occasionally make me laugh. There are a few random gems interspersed throughout the book, but the majority of the book is one giant farce. I  have discovered after reading books like Gravity's Rainbow, etc that I am not as into weird, for the sake of weird as I thought that I was.

The narrator, Tristram makes reference to the reader at several points in the novel inviting him to go along with him on his crazy journey. He states at one point " the slight acquaintance, which is now beginning betwixt us, will grow into familiarity; and that unless one of us in fault, will terminate in friendship." Annnnd the answer to that statement/question is again "NO!" I did not grow into any form of friendship with Tristram Shandy. I disliked him greatly and every last comically awful thing that happened in his life.

There were a few quotes that made me  happy but I a refuse to spend another second on this awful novel so I will only leave you with one which made me so happy. As a youth outreach worker funded to help prevent exploitation I loved this quote:

"Why a black wench to be used worse than a white one? Only because she has no one to stand up for her"

Onwards and upwards to book 33 which will officially put me one third of the way through this project that I started 2 years ago. I am excited for Dead Souls as it is a Russian novel and I generally love Russian authors.