Flaubert’s Parrot by Julian Barnes

The problem with maintaining a blog where I write about books before I read them is that I can’t just start on the next book when I finish one; I have to sit down and blog about it first! Sometimes I just want to read, but no, not allowed, because then I’d start thinking about how the book is, the writing style, the narrative voice, whether it’s what I expected (it often isn’t) and that necessarily influences what I then write about it.

So now I have 15 minutes before I have to leave for work and I need something to read on the bus so I have to choose something, which is not always easy. Sometimes you find a book or a book finds you at just the right time. Sometimes a book sits on your shelf for years before you’re ready for it. There’s the book about a failed relationship that you can’t do right now because you just had a fight with your girlfriend. Or the one you’re sure to like but you just finished something recently by the same author and you want to spread out the enjoyment. There’s also that glittery one. Yes, I’m running out of time.

The thing I love most about going over to someone’s place for the first time is getting to browse their bookshelf. I picked up Flaubert’s Parrot the other day when I was over at my friend M’s place for post-Christmas Wichteln. I read The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes last year and found it just okay. Flaubert’s Parrot is of course his best known title, and if I have any creed at all, it’s that to fairly disparage an author, you really need to have sampled his best work.

-Reading the Why

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