Friday, July 10, 2009
As I think I’ve mentioned before, I rarely quit a book. Once I start, I push myself to read it the whole way through. My philosophy is that you can’t really judge a book without reading the whole thing, because a bad book may redeem itself before the ending -- and a good book may go to hell.
For example, you might remember a few months ago I read Christopher Hitchens’ “God Is Not Great.” It wasn’t an easy book but I pushed through it, and I’m glad I did because I could then see its flaws in their entirety.
More recently, though, I tried to read Michael Chabon’s “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union.” It’s a sort of noir-ish mystery set in a fictional Alaska, populated by Orthodox Jews whom Chabon places there rather than Israel after World War II. I thought the premise was pretty fascinating, and I loved Chabon’s other books, like “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay” and “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh.”
But try as I might, I could not get into “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union.” For one thing, I couldn’t keep the characters straight. They all seemed to play chess, have beards and wear black! I also must admit a lack of cultural knowledge about Orthodox Judaism, which might have made the book harder for me to understand.
(Plus, one of my former love interests thought Michael Chabon was the best writer since Salinger. Maybe my resistance was psychological?)
At any rate, I read about 100 pages and then quit.
Did anyone else read this book and have a different experience? How do you feel about quitting books?
(Photo: Turn that frown upside down! 14th Street, June 2009)