Oh No, Not Thomas Hardy

Many, many years ago I was into Thomas Hardy. I read a few of his books and then had to stop because he is so darn depressing I just couldn’t take it. Is it just me, or is he one of the darkest writers out there? Or did I not read enough of his books to get to the one that does not have a tragic ending? I didn’t read Tess of D’Uberville and I really have not wanted to. Dark, dark, dark.

I downloaded a new book to my iPad by a current author who I quite like. I started reading and skipping around the book, like I do, and I quickly discovered much to my dismay that this book will be much more meaningful to me if I first read Hardy’s Tess. Oh no! So, I downloaded Tess. Now I just have to read it. Part of me feels so trepidatious, am I up to Hardy these days? Another part of me is a little happy that I’m being pushed into this position. I haven’t stretched myself as far as fiction is concerned in a long time. I also haven’t read anything phenomenal in a long time. Why am I feeling so reluctant to start this book? Also, is it weird that the very thought of reading a certain book is affecting me like this? I mean, I’m not even reading it yet. There was a time when no book intimidated me. Why this change? I like to think it’s because after all these years of reading I’m aware of the constraints of time (so many books, so little time) and have become more selective in what I read but I know that’s not true with all of the junk I’ve been reading lately.

I want to read books of great beauty and if I can’t do that I want something light and breezy. Please tell me that there is great beauty in Tess because I know that it won’t be breezy.

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5 responses to “Oh No, Not Thomas Hardy

  1. Oh, it’s a great book. I enjoyed it much more that the Return of the Native (which I think went right over my head, as I was in High School when I read it). But be prepared for tragic tragedy. You hit that nail on the head with Hardy’s tendency to be depressing.

    Speaking of depressing, when I was in university, I took a Russian drama course, and the professor assigned us four Chekov plays in a row. Don’t ever do that. It was rough.

    • Rivki, what is it with the Russian writers? I have Gogol waiting for me on my iPad and Anna Karenina. I tried reading War and Peace when I was pregnant with my eldest but I fell asleep every time I picked it up. Probably more from the pregnancy than the writing, but still. I’ve read some Dostoyevsky, also not a happy guy. I’ve never gotten near Chekov, had not really planned on it and now certainly will not. Enjoy your Shabbat. If you had an e-reader could you use it on Shabbat or would that be the same as turning on the computer?

  2. I couldn’t finish Anna Karenina (in part b/c one of my friends inadvertently gave away the ending and I lost my motivation). Chekov is good, but in moderation. There were actually some amusing plays – I think the Inspector General was one, maybe by Pushkin? I’m not sure.

    I think the e-reader would be off limits on Shabbos, so I’ll have to stick to reading the traditional way. I would love to get one, though. My mom just got my dad a Kindle, and he loves it!

    Have a Good Shabbos, too.

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