This week’s question:
What book took you the longest to read, and do you feel it was the content or just the length that made it so?
How do you measure a year? I measure by the number of books read, usually around 80. A book a week is a practical goal although the size, the difficulty, and the writing style could deviate from this schedule. Wolf Hall took a while because of its complexity and multiple layers of stories; The Fountainhead its sheer length. The one book that comprises of both attributes, and thus rendering it a time-consuming read, is The Death of Virgil by Hermann Broch. It took me over a month, on and off, over many cups of coffee. Not a widely known book, let alone read. It revolves about the poet’s wish to burn his masterpiece, The Aeneid, and creates out of his signified keen senses and heightened perceptions a rich vision, with full actuality, the religious, philosophical and political impulses of the time. It is arduous in reading, strenuous in contemplating the richly lyrical prose. Woven and sifted throughout are reflections and perceptions of Virgil’s febrile yet lucid thoughts in such rocking rhythms that illuminate, to the full actuality, the macabre sensation of the drifting journey on which the poet is being carried by the bark of death.