Sometimes, but not often, I will struggle through a book that is challenging. The older I get the more I want to read things that are outside my taste. This rubs up against my “life is too short to read books you don’t enjoy,” because I frequently do not enjoy books outside my taste.

To wit, I tried to read two modern romance novels recently. One involved a woman who fell in love at first sight with a dude she saw at a bus stop and then who started dating her BFF. I just could not. I tried. But I didn’t care, and I didn’t buy any of it. I quit after a few chapters.

One, I did finish, was Milkman by Anna Burns. Oof. This is one that was long on concept and short on plot or character development. Oftentimes I’ll read a short story and think, that would make a great novel. The opposite is true in this case. The stream-of-conscious narration, the 18 ways to say the same thing in the same paragraph, and nicknamed characters would have been well-suited for something much shorter. Instead we get a book-length writing experiment that was completely exhausting & unenjoyable to read.

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