I’m experiencing trouble reading two very different books in very different ways. On the one hand, 2666 by Roberto Bolano is intentionally difficult, as he clinically relates the individual stories of the hundreds of women murdered in Ciudad Juarez in the 1990’s, one after another, the unsolved crimes getting their day in public court, in a sense. The way he tells their stories leaves out so much, but then again, their lives were also cut short and the narration reinforces that fact. It’s a brooding and depressing book in general. Hard to keep going at some points, but tremendously compelling at others.
The second book is the one I’m reading aloud to my son, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. This book is beloved by so many people that I’ve been surprised both at how poorly it’s written and how very boring it is (to me). It’s essentially Starship Troopers with a precocious six-year old. Ender is six in the same way that Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes is six – not really. But he’s a genius and isolated and misunderstood and manipulated by the adults around him, so it makes sense this book would appeal to nerdy teens and tweens. I’m just not the audience.