Wednesday, September 06, 2006

125 pages Monday. 110 page Tuesday. And it's 8:17 a.m. and I've already read another 20 pages of Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. In most cases, reading this many pages so quickly would be a good sign. It would seem to mean that I was enjoying the book and that I was nearing some sort of end. However, it's neither. The book is such an easy read, that you just sort of flow along, not really becoming entranced by the magic, magicians or anything much for that matter. I've been reading it with a certain nonchalance that I'm not accustomed to. But it's the book that demands this. How else are we to make it through 1,006 pages? This book is a behemoth. I'm 255 pages in and I'm not even out of the first section. The second main character, Jonathan Strange, has just been introduced into the fold.

This book has received nothing but rave reviews, winning countless book of the year awards. Now, I really don't care about awards or reviews for that matter, but I do pay attention to them. Hopefully, I'll be able to make my own judgment. I'm not saying Clarke's book is bad or poorly written. I was just hoping to be sucked into the world of mystery and magic, with mist and eerie British settings, conducive to prolonged periods of reading as rain falls, quieting the world around me. Instead, I've been lulled into a world of practical magic, where Mr. Norrell wants to use his powers to aid in the war against Napoleon and the French. I don't want people being turned into pumpkins, but magicians fighting wars? I get it. I take it as a modern version of Merlin. Or something like that.

Maybe the next 250 pages will be the catalyst to invigorate me, to invigorate the book. I would think that after 500 pages a book would speak to me. May Jonathan Strange whisper for me to put him down? We shall see...

p.s. I am not reading this book as part of Carl V.'s Readers Imbibing Peril (R.I.P.)Autumn Challenge, but I may take up this challenge if I can get through Jonathan Strange.

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