Tuesday, May 13, 2008
What a Difference a Day (Or Two) Makes
I find this interesting: when I read the first chapter or two of "Bleak House" I loved it. Then, as my reading got sporadic due to my London trip, reading it became somewhat of an effort, as I alluded to in my last blog post. The numerous characters got all jumbled up in my head, and as colorful as those characters were, I felt they were somewhat cartoonish, which made them hard for me to relate to. Now that I am back at home, and getting settled into my routine schedule where I can read a bit every day, I find I am again greatly enjoying "Bleak House" again. The characters are all settled in my mind, and the humor is really jumping out at me. I'm finding the book to be quite delightful, and I'm laughing out loud rather frequently as I crawl through the pages. So why the change in attitude? I'm not sure. I suspect the stress of travel, and the large and event-filled breaks between reading sessions made it difficult to climb into the world that Dickens builds in this novel. And it is indeed a separate world that Dickens creates here, even more so than in most novels, I think. This novel works much better, at least for me, now that there's time to let myself walk into that world, and forget about this one. This discovery makes me wonder: how many books have I read that I disliked, or did not get much out of, but which I could have enjoyed if my mind had been in a more receptive state? Are some books more suited to a particular frame of mind than others? Louis Pasteur famously said "Chance favors the prepared mind". Is this true for literature as well?