After a successful, easy year with last year's reading challenge, I've had a bit of a shaky start this year; With all the family stuff that happened at the beginning of the year, trashy TV became a better escape than reading a book, but I'm slowly getting back into books and working my way through the huge pile on my bookshelf.
My biggest goal after last year was to try to read a few more classics and dramatic novels. Like films, I tend to gravitate towards contemporary novels or something that will make me giggle; As someone who cries at the drop of a hat, I'm never really enthused to read something I know will make me sad. Nevertheless, I think I'm doing reasonably well towards that particular goal with a couple of classics and a Murakami.
1. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides.
Beginning at Brown University in the early 80's, The Marriage Plot follows English student Madeleine Hanna, who is writing her thesis on the authors of the great marriage plots (Austen and Eliot); whilst also dealing with her own conflicting romantic plots; Scientist and charismatic loner Leonard Bankhead and theology student Mitchell Grammaticus.
I was so excited to read this, I'd heard nothing but good things about it from friends and it sounded like my kind of book. I was however a bit disappointed. It's a complete literary geek's type of romance (or romantic) novel - with Madeleine being a self professed Austen geek and both male lead characters bonding with her over books and philosophical discussions - but I just didn't really like the characters, particularly main character Madeleine. I found myself speeding up my reading in order to get to the only character I liked, Mitchell, but even his character felt a little bogged down by his various theological interests and epiphanies.
In all it was quite disappointing, not at all helped by the ending which I found a little anti-climatic and a bit of a cop-out really. I do however want to try and revisit it at a later date, I just have a feeling that it's one of those books that gets better with a few more reads.
“She wanted a book to take her places she couldn't get to herself.”
(more after the jump)