Baseball and Reading

reading.gifToday I spent much of the day reading and watching baseball. These are two of my favorite things — and they are both notably passive activities. Perhaps this is why I enjoy them.

And since I’ve been physically passive — and getting fatter — I thought I’d talk a bit about one of the three books I’ve read over the past couple of weeks.

First, the Nathan Englander. It was good — but it took a long time to snare my interest. I am currently struggling with the whole idea of plot. How important is a plot — in the process of snaring a reader’s interest? Is tone more important?

I liked Englander’s tone — and the voices of the characters were interesting, funny, and agreeably complex. His characters are full, round people; they have full, conflicting desires. But the plot is dead-in-the-water over the first 100 pages. Then — at the climax of the first act — the story really kicks in and becomes compelling.

But you could argue that character development is a gradual process. That Englander needs these 100 pages to paint a convincing portait of the book’s three main figures. But to me — it just feels too slow.

I love beauty and prose technique. In fact, my own writing is drawn to experimental places, in a way. But it doesn’t feel like Englander is trying to make a formal point.

Once it gets going though — it kept my attention.

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