I have been in a bouncing-all-over-the-place sort of phase with my own reading. I read William Boyd's A Good Man in Africa, though that was sort of assigned (book group). Then I read a short (ish) story by Tolstoy (Hadji Marat). And then, gee, something else that has entirely slipped my all too porous mind. And then I thought: I'm hot. I'm tired. I'm cranky. I'm going to dig out the Ruth Rendell I bought for $1 at Book-Off, and I will have FUN.
See, here's the problem with expecting fun. You feel even more disappointed when it doesn't work. Cheated, almost. A bit like "I was all set to read something without literary value, but if you take away the fun too, what am I left with?"
I don't know. I mean, I am a big fan of wide reading. I read high and low and side to side, and I want to welcome it all. But there is something about reading a book that you hoped would be a good time and instead having it be a bummer, but without that soul-stirring depth I associate with greatness? That's just a drag.
Should I attempt greatness? Probably. I will work on it.
2 thoughts on “The Problem With Fun”
Sometimes this happens to me with Wodehouse. I am all set for a mindless delightful romp and then the thing is formulaic, the same thing I read the last time, the set-phrases too fresh in my mind from the last time I was at Blandings– it’s not a bummer, per se, but it’s all TOO breezy and as if Wodehouse is tired too. I’m already tired– I can’t have my go-to frivolous author be exhausted as well!
There are only a few things worse in Reading Land than anticipating a new novel, written by the Person Who Wrote One of Your Favorite Novels, and it turns out to be boring. This has happened to me twice in the last five years, and I’m still resentful.