I have been away from blogland for a while, and I briefly explained why on my blog. With the quality of writing produced by my fellow bloggers I know you have been well entertained. So I'm back!
Would you believe I started this post originally back in February, then picked it up and worked on it a few months ago, then re-revisited it AGAIN just now? How's that for procrastination? So here it is, third time lucky. If it seems a bit disjointed you know why. I was afraid that if I took the time to polish it up I would procrastinate yet again!
From a month or so ago...
With all the recent talk (ed. Note; August) about books Mrs BG's dear readers and authors couldn't finish, I thought I would dust off this post I couldn't finish back in February about books I couldn't finish. I'm looking forward to finishing it!
When Sam said she'd abandoned books and felt guilty about it, I completely understand. And I am dying to know why we give up on books. Could you all please respond to the first official Mrs Baja survey?
Original post I didn't finish follows....
So, there have been a couple of books recently (ed. Note; February) that have just not worked for me. I have never thought myself very critical, fickle or discriminating, but maybe I am.
My first non-finisher is a book my beautiful mother bought me back in June. I picked it up and was so intrigued and excited by it. The author is the apparently well-known Steven Pinker, author of The Blank Slate. The cover of The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature says it's 'curious, inventive, fearless, naughty', which is hard to resist.
Some of the ideas are fascinating. I liked reading about how language shapes our attitudes. For example, doctors are more likely to be in favor of a program that might save 200 out of 600 vulnerable patients rather than one that will kill 400 out of 600. Same numbers, different spin.
And Pinker quotes a study that shows when we estimate number problems roughly, we don't really use language in our heads, but when we calculate exactly, we do. So, we have an image-based estimating process, but use words to calculate.
Le Testament Français by Andreї Makine is beautiful. I got it from the Heron Island swapsies library. His first language is Russian and he wrote in French. This edition is in English and it is musical, lyrical, just poetry in prose and the images he paints stay with me. I love it. And I haven't finished it… Don't know what's going on there...
Image from the National Gallery of Australia.
And to finish off this post about not finishing books I will tell you about Ned Kelly: A Short Life by Ian Jones. The Kelly family is infamous and very important to the Australian psyche. Ned was the bushranger (bandit?) who made his own armour. Does anyone remember seeing 'him' in the 2000 Sydney Olympics opening ceremony? Kind of a naughty Robin Hood.
Jones' book is an incredibly, minutely detailed account of Ned's life. No event, however small, is left out of this account. I'm not making any progress here. It may have been a short life but this is a loooong book.
If you want to learn more about Ned without having to read Ian Jones, check here. It looks like a great blog. And they seem fond of Ian's work, too.
So, ladies and gentlemen, there is my confession. Now your turn. How many books do you have languishing in your to-be-finished pile? Please don't tell me none! I might start to worry about myself.