I read a book for school that I didn’t like, John D’Agata’s Halls of Fame. I was tempted to skim the book or even skip chapters; the latter I didn’t do, but I admit to skimming a few pages here and there. I was rewarded when I reached the final chapter; the last essay was a good read. Then I wrote my paper about the book. I found myself writing about what I didn’t like about the book, and when it came time to write about what I took away from the book, what I learned and could apply to my own writing, I came up with negatives, what I learned NOT to do. I learned NOT to invite the reader to skim–ever. I learned NOT to write commentary, notes, or excuses about my essays after the fact, and let’s see, what else….I learned to put enough of myself into my essays to let the “I” shine through instead of being a passive witness or receptacle for information. Then I woke up this morning.
Then I woke up this morning and said to myself, “Gee, I actually liked that book.” I had a whole new perspective on it. I don’t know if I should rewrite the paper or let it stand–I think I’ll leave it be, because part of my liking the book has to do with writing the paper and without the paper I don’t think I’d like the book so much!
However, I’m slightly embarrassed because I LOVED all the other books I’ve read so far this semester. D’Agata’s stands out like–sorry–a sore thumb.
I suppose more than occasionally, it rains.
Joshua, I hope you feel better soon.