Novel Digestion: A story deserves more than its pages
13 October 2010 5 Comments
I probably wouldn’t have been able to articulate this, wouldn’t have realized it about myself except for the wife being on the advisory board of the INSPYs awards. She had to finish 40-some nominated books in 40-some days; she’s finished more than 75 each of the past three years, which is quite a few if you ask me. Trying to get through one every day — that’s
356 365 every year for those of you even more mathematically challenged than myself — was very stressful. Apparently, though, others in the book blogging community that my wife regularly communicates with read more than a book a day on average.
I don’t understand why, let alone how a person would do that. The language in The Moviegoer has been beautiful in the first 20 pages, and I’m eager to get into the story.
But I can’t.
Not yet anyway. It’s too soon. It’s too soon after finishing Lois Hudson’s mesmerizing Great Depression tale. Jumping right into Percy’s poetic novel would be an affront, an injustice to her artistry. The story I just finished deserves more time. What good is it if they all run together, if there isn’t any time to chew on what a person just ingested?
I need time to digest.
Adding: I wonder if the same is true for film, to a degree. Perhaps for good film, anyway, and not most of the fluff Hollywood continues to put out (apparently because that’s what Americans vote for with their dollars, they say). But our investment into a film is so much less in general than into a book. In time, obviously, but also in imagination. Film leaves less to the imagination than a book, where we have to partially put our own faces onto the characters and further interpret the author’s description of a farmstead. The house is bright yellow; but what kind of bright yellow? Yellow like sunshine on a daffodil? Yellow like the light coming through stained glass? Even with purple prose, a book doesn’t do for us what a movie does.