Monday, October 11, 2010

If you start reading a book, do you feel compelled to finish it?
Once I start reading a book, especially if it qualifies as literature, I feel totally compelled to read it all the way to the end. 
Sometime about a year ago I decided to attempt to read the works of English female authors from the 18th and 19th Centuries. I did this because I knew that there were outstanding female authors that I missed.
But I'm having some trouble with this.
Do you ever read books where the main character is so obnoxious and so unsympathetic that you just can't turn another page?  Well that's how I feel about Margaret Oliphant's 'Miss Marjoribanks'.  I was actually hoping that the main character would catch consumption and die so that we all could be put out of our misery.
And then there is 'The Female Quixote or The Adventures of Arabella', by the prolific Charlotte Lennox. In many ways it is a brilliant satire but the main character Arabella is so annoying.  Even by three quarters of the book, Arabella is as puerile and foolish as she was in the first chapter. And I'm sorry but, no feminist literature professor is going to convince me that the wealthy and well bred Arabella, with access to an extensive library  yet who floats in a fantasy world ruled by French Romance novels, is some kind of 18th Century feminist heroine.
So, I've done something that I rarely do. I've tossed these books aside and just given up on them.
Still, I feel kind of guilty.

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