In the Middle

Around a month and a half ago I started reading the book Snow by Orhan Pamuk.  His writing had been recommended to me and I had started Museum of Innocence, but got stuck around page 50.  I was determined that this not happen with Snow.

I read for around a week and realized that I seem to get through around 5 pages a day.  Note, this is not because the writing is bad or the book is boring.  In fact, I loved his gentle writing style and the fact that the structure of the book was so different to what I was used to.  However, when I want to sink down in a comfy chair and read for an hour, I don’t want a book that I have to put down after 5 pages because my brain just can’t take it any more. 

So, I put it on hold and read Faith.  Just what I wanted – a plot I could get caught up in and really enjoy.

Then I started my job, which really put a dent in my free time.  Seeing that Snow was going to be more of a long-term project, I bought a used copy and started reading again.  I got past the critical 50 page mark.  This time I gave up (or took a break) around the 110 page mark and picked up the novel Maine, which I’m currently loving.  When I finish Maine, I’ll go back to Snow for a bit more.

Have other people out there read Pamuk?  Is this a normal way to read his books?  I don’t want reading to become a chore (ie, forcing myself to read a certain number of pages per day to have some hope of finishing the book) or to be reading the same novel for 6 months (particularly after enjoying reading so broadly over the past year and a half).

I appreciate that the structure of this novel is very different from the more Western novel that I’m used to.  I honestly enjoy the meandering plot and pace.  While I reading the book I enjoy it.  I just find that after 5 pages or so I put it down and go do something else.

It’s a very unusual feeling for me.  Usually that happens because I’m not enjoying a book and I give up.  I don’t want to give up on Snow, but I just need breathers here and there so I don’t lose my mind.

Other people with the same experience??


3 thoughts on “In the Middle

  1. Greetings. I can’t speak to Snow directly, as I have not read him. But I do frequently like to throw myself in “impossible” books. For the really tough stuff I developed a practice while reading David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest: Ten pages a day. Infinite Jest is 1200 dense pages, small font. So, the math is such that it took me close to have a year to read the book. I was also assigned to review it, so I was going at a pace that allowed the book to soak in, knowing I was going to write about it. Regardless, it was a practice in patience and a lesson in personal ability, or lack thereof. Good luck and thanks for your thoughts on reading.

  2. That’s a great discipline to get through the book. However, between keeping track of Snow, reading other books inbetween and an audio book in the car, I’m beginning to lose track of characters. I may need to move to a non-fiction book in the car!

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