This week, at the recommendation of an English major, I decided to read Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. When I was in high school, I am pretty sure I was supposed to read it. I am pretty sure I didn't. There is something about age and maturity that illuminates the things your English teachers were trying to teach you while you were too busy with the important things of life like passing notes to the cute boy three rows over and when the bell was going to ring. Apparently, I am have not yet gained enough of this age and maturity because I had a difficult time getting through this 70 page novel this week. I was interested in almost everything else but Conrad's characters and plot development. Don't get me wrong, I made it through (somehow); but the problem was I didn't find it fascinating. I saw the things my English teacher wanted me to see back then: tone, character development, social commentary, structure, etc. But what I didn't see was a page-turner. I think that is what I am looking for. I need something to get me through the week, that makes me push through my day so that I can finish with a great story. What I do not need is the middle section of Heart of Darkness. I would have preferred to read the beginning and end and have the middle summarized for me. There were some great early quotes forshadowing what was to come and there was the key repeated phrase of heart of darkness (in case I forgot what I was reading), but those were in the bookends of the novel. Is there a way to get Cliff's Notes for just the middle section?
There is one good thring to be said for reading this book. There is a book called 1001 Books You Must Read Before you Die and at the beginning of this week, I had read exactly 1 percent of the books included in it. At the close of this week I have read 1.2 percent of the books - what an accomplishment!!