Archive | May 17, 2020

Winnowing books

The ease with which I have abandoned books astounds me.

Three books … out. Didn’t get past thirty pages. One I didn’t even open.

Okay, I didn’t buy any of them. So I had no original desire to read them. They were actually all gifted by the same man. (There’s a novel in the man but privacy precludes me from telling the tale. Though one day ….)

Anyway, this man is German and feels a connection to me because of my German heritage. He’s a strange fish, with a strangeness that comes from being oh so German. Possibly autistic. And basically just strange. actually, maybe a sociopath.

Let’s call him Hans, cause he has multiple names anyway. (Did I mention there’s a story in there?)

Hans gave me Book 1 and Book 2 of Goethe’s Faust. I opened Book 1. Read the autobiographical notes. Skimmed the introduction. And faulted on page 2 of actual Goethe. Nope, not going to try.

Given the introduction said Book 2 was heavier, out with that too.

I thought I may as well try the adventure book Hans gave me. He said the author is a well-known writer of adventures in the Wild West, as in the American Wild West. I thought it might be interesting to get a German perspective, after all, there were quite a large number of German settlers.

With the first dozen pages, I knew this wouldn’t be for me. The central character is a perfect shot, the best rider, breaker of horses that no one else can do, the hardest worker, the strongest man, a great hunter, a clever engineer, best ever teacher, the only …. You get the picture. Thank god for those Germans! The Wild West would never have been settled, no railways built, no work done.

The translation reads like they’ve used Google translator. So poorly done. Dialogue lacking in natural rhythm and idiom. Tenses all over the place.

Luckily, I will never have to tell Hans I haven’t read the books. (The reason I won’t tell him lies at the heart of the tale about him which I will tell in about 10 years.)

For now, I am happy in clearing space on my shelves. These books are not going to sit on my shelf, challenging me, making me feel guilty at not reading them.

Out, out, out.

(But I must admit there is no space on my shelves. I have bought a dozen books from the second hand book store – had to help out local businesses in the COVID Shutdown, didn’t I? And then a friend gave me some books. The Reading Down the House isn’t going too well.)