Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dear John

John Irving has been one of my favourite authors ever since I first discovered his books one of those 80ies childhood summers in the country cottage. Those summers when I much rather sat indoors reading than outdoors (in a typical Swedish manner) "making the most of the weather" - the summer weather which back then always consisted of sun, sun and more sun - hence being whiter than white itself when I returned to school in the autumn.

And since I'm blessed with being the type of person that basically just have to stick my face out the door for one minute in order to get a healthy tan, imagine how little, if any, time outdoors I got back then.

I practically devoured his first five books, my favourite ever one still being "Hotel New Hampshire". Though there's a close runner up in "A Widow For One Year". I have every one of his fictional books in my bookshelf (and so far one of the non-fictional ones), though admittedly there are still two of them I haven't read. Ther reason for that being I've essentially stopped reading hardbacks, they're just so inconvenient in both bed and handbag (yes size does also matter in the world of books). But since I've managed to get through the impractical format of the very less than in a literary way well-wrought Harry Potter-books, I will of course one day dig into these two too.

The book of "The Fourth Hand" had for some odd reason completely bypassed me until a couple of years ago. I bought it and it had since been in my voluminous, evergrowing pile of to-read-books. Now it's also read. Exemplary modest in pages, around 350, and with an, as most always with Irving, ingenious story, both sad and laughable on the burley side, endlessly witty and well-written, this piece of Irving paper-work is far from a memorable favourite of mine. Can't really pinpoint as to why, it just never completely captured me.

In my Currently Reading pile (which can be seen to the right here in blog --->) I have had Irving's brick novel "Until I Find You" for ages. I have sadly been struggling - as in it has yet to really touch me despite having all the above described ingredients in a typical Irving-book - with it for over two years.

When the book was released in Sweden I had the great fortune to be able to attend one live writers-interview with Irving and an alas rather dimwit Swedish interviewer. Irving himself struck me as a very pleasant, though of few spoken words, man. The reading of the newly released book pretty much made me run right down to the bookshop and get it as soon as the do was over.

A thick-as-a-brick novel usually, especially if by a favourite writer, gets me all starry eyed and salivating with anticipation. But no matter how I read a hundred pages here a hundred pages there I never seem to get to the finish line of this one at page 1026 or so. Sigh.

I know I one day will have read the whole book, I just wish I could concentrate on it for more than those 100 pages at a time though and have an easy-peasy, engulfing read like I do from time to time. The way reading books should be. Always. Or nearly always at least. Dear John.


Anonymous said...

I guess I'll have to put him down on my reading list. *sigh* So many books to read, so little time.

Paz (who has a tall pile of books to read)

Pia K said...

Do that! And if you haven't read the Swedish authors Carl Johan Vallgren and Maria Ernestam and French Anna Gavalda, do that too!! I know all about having piles of to-read-books that you never ever seem to see the end of, I suspect I one day will be found under a heap of books that I never got around to reading, but with a smile on my face...:)

Lost Star said...

I am, and have been for some time, 3/4 of the way through A Prayer for Owen Meany. I am enjoying it, but it is not a book that I can read in huge amounts at a time. I have about 100 pages to go, but keep getting distracted and reading other things! How does it compare to his other books? Assuming you have read it obviously!

Hope your holiday is fun!

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