Monday, March 26, 2007

Blog entry about trying to become friends with JWI

I've already discovered that reading JWI is not one of those books you can read lying down on the sofa or being spread out in a shade under a tree somewhere. It's the sort of book that requires a lot of reading-breaks during which dictionaries need to be used. AND QUITE FREQUENTLY! In fact, so frequently that had JWI not been assigned for class, I'd long close it and throw it on a pile among those books I label with "Never going to read that one!"It is not just the hours of vocabulary learning that will need to be jotted down into my everyday schedule - that is the good part! What my problem with JWI is is that it just doesn't light the spark of interest in me. I guess expat literature is just not really my kind of literature, or maybe it is, but I just haven't run into an expat book I'd really like yet. Besides, there is a sea of books out there to read and an ocean of good ones. That is why I generally never force myself to read the whole book just because I should finish what I started. If I don't like the book, I endure reading it for just a little bit longer, because I might be suprised...but if I am not, I just move on to the next book I might or might not like. Thus, reading JWI will be a pain in the a**, but I have to do it, there is no other option, so why not making the best of it and just read it from a very critical point of view, as someone who doesn't like expat lit.

Maybe what I will really have to do is to go out to the woods and hug trees to get some inspiration (isn't that the latest method for getting a lot of positive energy?). Or maybe, I can just trust our professors who chose the book on there being a high level of practicality involved in reading JWI and be content with that. Whatever it is, I need to take the bull by the horns and do my best.

Who knows, I might end up making a David Monagan fan club, although I sincerely doubt it. I am the sort of reader who's got extremely high criteria when it comes to the style of writing. If I am not impressed by the style of writing itself, I hardly ever go into the story. However, that is not always the case. Hemingway, for example, has a kind of "dry" style of writing - on the surface. What I mean by claiming that is that his sentences are short; he hardly uses adjectives; and the meaning of sentences is very clear, and yet the matter of the messages he poses in his works is very complex and cunningly hidden beyond all the simplicity and this "dryness" in style of writing I am talking about.

Now, Monagan, well, he is everything that Hemingway is not. JWI seems to be an inch away from exploding with adjectives. Almost every noun has an adjective (and most of them are news to me). Sometimes, Monagan's language doesn't even sound English. I mean, what is "great clots of people thronged the main thoroughfare, yakking with a blithe animation?" From time to time, as in this case, his writing seems to be unnatural, as if he's trying too hard to be the great Irish story teller. However, I am impressed by the rich use of vocabulary, which Monagan is really the master of. I am very stimulated to learn a few words myself after reading only one chapter. I only hope I won't go berserk after reading a few more...because, I'm telling you, it piles up until you just don't know "what, where, who, when" anymore.

So, let's see how this goes as I go along.


1 comment:

  1. hi tina!
    I liked reading this entry very much...:). I don't exactly adore JWI, either. For my taste there are too few interesting things HAPPENING! I think Monagan is a bit too much into describing everything to the tiniest detail...!!

    I really like your pictures, btw!!