After finishing last year’s reading recap posts, it’s time to reset the clock for 2015.
I set myself the goal of reading 70 books this year, although I perhaps didn’t get off to the best start. Like anyone who enjoys making things difficult for themselves, I chose to start this year’s reading with 832 page novel The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton.
I knew such a huge book would take me a few weeks to read, but one of the reasons I chose it was to avoid taking the easy option of always choosing short novels to make reaching my target easier. After all, having a reading goal shouldn’t prevent me from reading a particular book, it’s a challenge, but it should still be enjoyable.
That said, I think I knew within the first 10 pages that I wasn’t going to love The Luminaries. And three-and-a-half weeks later, I was proved right.
It’s not a bad novel; there are a lot of things to enjoy. It has a complicated plot, colourful characters and the historical setting is well-researched. One of the reasons The Luminaries became an award winner, is because of Catton’s clever structure, which she built around astrological principles.
For me, this ultimately became the book’s biggest flaw, as the story’s most engaging section – the final third – quickly loses its way as she reaches the climax of the plot, before spending the remaining 150 pages looping back to the beginning to explain the last of the mystery. This meant the ending felt a bit weak, and after 800+ pages that did leave me feeling very frustrated, which I probably wouldn’t have with a shorter book.
As well as reading a super long book, this month I also sneaked in my first Hemingway, with To Have and Have Not, which comes in at 180 pages. I loved the punchy writing style, but sadly the story didn’t grab me the way I had hoped. I do have a couple of other Hemingway novels on my shelf though, so I’m looking forward to reading those.
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