Novels don't have to be "good reads." Sometimes, the best book is the one you throw across the room.

Over in the Guardian, there's a provocative article that we're judging novels by the wrong standards. Instead of expecting them to be "good reads" or judging them according to their "re-readability," argues Kirsty Gunn, we should be celebrating more books that are frustrating reads that we would never, in a million years, re-read:

Novels can do other things. And reading them can be like watching dancing. They don't have to be re-readable. (How many people – aside from scholars - will ever think about re–reading Finnegans Wake?). They can be awkward and challenging and not easy to like. They can make us ask questions all the way through. Do I like this? Is this any good? Am I the same person here, half-way through this book, as I was when I began it? I thought I was intimidated, a second ago, because I didn't understand a thing, but now I am exhilarated. Novels can do all this to us. Have us answer back. Shout out. Throw the book across the room. (One volume in to Proust's In Search of Lost Time and that's exactly what I did: threw Swann's Way across the room. And then went on to read the entire, life-changing "adventure that is Proust" as Virginia Woolf put it.) So why keep getting stuck with the passive appetite for the good read over and over again?


Check out the whole thing at the link. [Guardian]

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I tried to read Gravity's Rainbow once but got the impression the author didn't want me to, so I stopped.