Saturday, September 08, 2012
Reading as Entertainment?
I am reading STATE OF WONDER by Ann Patchett and the research involved blows me away. In BEL CANTO (one of my all-time favorite books), she learned all about opera and the military and a terrorist group in a South American country. Amazing. And STATE OF WONDER is even more praise-worthy because she has learned about how a primitive tribe lives, how scientific research is conducted, and various related matter. It is also incredibly descriptive--I feel like I am on that river, the mosquitoes that occupy much of the book's themes, buzzing around me, the river snakes slithering by, the tribe engaging in arcane activities considering it is contemporary.
But this book, in particular, is not truly entertaining. It is slow, ponderous, about how people operate in the medical research community, what a primitive tribe might be like, how decisions of youth come back to grab us. All sorts of interesting things, but I am not entertained like I was recently with, for instance, GONE GIRL.
Do you read books that do not entertain you? Since the days when you had to, I mean. Reading such books gives me a certain boost--that I have learned something or read really great writing. But I wouldn't do it for a steady diet. But I also cannot read pure adrenalin rush books all the time either. Do you mix it up too?