If you only knew how many times my wife and I have uttered that very sentence about that very book!booker wrote:Started Focault's Pendulum. I think I'll come back to it.
For me to read fiction anymore, it has to coincide with a certain amount of strong desire on my part to read the book; in other words, I have to approach it already wanting it. Sometimes, even that's not enough. This is more a feature of the hecticness of life. My only free time comes after 9:00 PM. Hard to have energy for fiction, then.
Non-fiction, not so. With non-fiction, the subject always comes first, and if the subject is interesting, that is usually sufficient, and there's never an implied "commitment" to the narrative. Also, with fiction, my switch goes off the minute I feel the writer trying to impress/one-up his Iowa workshop pals. And, man, is postmodernism annoying.
But, I was an anti-poetry ass for a while, too. Now I'm back reading the biggies. If I had to pick three favorites they would be in this order: Emily Dickinson, Dylan Thomas, William Blake (Shakespeare is in his own category). Contemporary poets should ALL have to rhyme and use form before they start cutting their otherwise prosaic sentences into oh-so preciously significant little free verse lines. Poetry should either be able to be sung or at least incanted like a magic spell. God I'm an opinionated bastard.