Sunday, 19 July 2009

Setting goals means one of two things: insanity or perseverance...

... and only time will tell which it is going to be.

I don’t like Dickens. Perhaps a strange thing to admit for someone who reads as much Dickens and writes so much about him and his works as I do, but the only novel I really like and which redeems everything is The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and that’s probably just because it was left unfinished. The rest just makes me want to bash my head against random hard surfaces most of the time.

Right now, I’m on the last Dickens book I’m discussing in my thesis (Bleak House), and I’ve gone through it so many times (in the past as well) and have gathered so much of my own commentary on it that I’m getting pretty sick of it. (Even though I tend to think it’s one of the better novels.) I’ve managed to connect it all, but since I’m left with a piece of text of about 5000 words long now, and which is more summary than analysis, I’ll definitely have to go back to it. Just not today.

I’ve gone back to reading Gaboriau (who should be known as a philosopher besides just a novelist and a journalist, but then this is the first time I’m reading him, and everything that’s new is exiting). I’ll probably move to Wilkie Collins after that (that’ll be coming home), though I might take a break in-between and go for some Patterson (how modern of me) too.

I’m not sure if this is just the change of the old romans de gare into modern ariport novels, and whether it has anything to do with the fact we don’t travel as long as we did once upon a time, but modern detective fiction definitely reads quicker than the old stuff. I’m not sure which I prefer (purely generalising, the new seems to sacrifice characterisation for plot, while the old just beats you over the head with plot and characterisation), but right now I’m starting to become fed up with the nineteenth century, and am really looking forward to getting to the Sherlock Holmes chapter and safely into the new territory of the twentieth century.

Goal: finish this chapter in the next two weeks, start the next one and finish that in another two weeks, which leaves another week for the chronological chapter, which will pretty much be cut and paste, except I’ll have to analyse everything together in entirely new and exciting ways.

In-between I will be bored, bowling, camping, swimming, or (hopefully) driving. Last holiday I’m not going anywhere, I think. I’m currently just horrifically jealous of everyone who’s getting on a plane.