Winesburg Ohio by Sherwood Anderson

For this week, I read winesburg, ohio (this is literally how the title is typed on the cover of my Signet Classic paperback, I was not being lazy with my capitalization. As evidenced by my 28 word explanation for it.) I also struggled with Brothers Karamazov, which still remains unfinished (sorry Dave!).

I have a confession to make. In the last couple of months, I have been apathetic about reading. Trust me, this isn’t by choice and sometimes makes me want to cry. I have read approximately two books that I have enjoyed. Both books (The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett and The Given Day by Dennis Lehane) took me approximately a 3 to 7 days to read each (this was prior to Karamazov). This is ridiculously long for me for a book I really am into and enjoying.

So, my opinion of winesburg, ohio -might- be influenced by this apathy. Or it might not. You can judge.

I did manage to read it in 4 days. But, that’s mainly because I treated reading as I do the dishes. Something to plow through.

There were definitely things that I thought were brilliant about it however. Winesburg is a series of either micro fiction short stories or vignettes. I prefer to think of it as vignettes, but I might be wrong. All of these vignettes are of inhabitants of Winesburg, Ohio.

Things I liked:

Anderson’s expert layering of one vignette upon the other. His choice of order of which ones led into the next one. My best example of this is the vignette that focuses on the Reverend Curtis Hartman and his struggle with sin:

           “Reverend Curtis Hartman turned and ran out of the office. At the door he stopped, and after looking up and down the deserted street, turned again to George Willard. “I am delivered. Have no fear.” He held up a bleeding fist for the young man to see. “I smashed the glass of the window,” he cried. “Now it will have to be wholly replaced. The strength of God was in me and I broke it with my fist.”
So ends Reverend Hartman’s chapter.
The very next chapter covers both young George Willard, intrepid reporter, and Kate Swift, schoolteacher, who figures prominently in Reverend Hartman’s chapter.
Anderson does a great job of highlighting how little we know about the people around us. Even in a small town, where everyone knows absolutely everyone, none of us truly know the interior landscape of another person. We know the surface and maybe a bit beneath.
For example, Kate Swift has no idea that she figured so prominently in Reverend Hartman’s life, in his interior landscape over that time. Swift basically changes Hartman’s life in some small and big ways. And she has absolutely no clue and hasn’t even exchanged a word with him.
Thing I didn’t like that might just be due to my apathy and reading listlessness:
It dragged. Some of the vignettes were interesting and even entertaining. But for the most part it just seemed tedious.
That might be due to me though, like I said.
If anyone has any ideas on what I can do, let me know please. Even the thought of re-reading some of my normal favorites that I can rely upon for entertaining just isn’t appealing right now.
I feel like a “normal” person right now. One in which Once Upon A Time on Netflix holds way more interest than any book I own.
Though, if you need a really long audio to listen to, I highly recommend the serialized audio drama, We’re Alive. It’s a podcast. And a zombie story. It’s great. I have needed audio for such things as work, driving and dishes and this filled the 40 hours it lasted quite nicely (actually closer to 50 hours).
Have a great weekend! (I will point out that for at least my first blog post in January, I have succeeded with my resolution of posting on Thursday instead of Friday or Saturday.)
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