Spin It

My book club has chosen Colum McCann’s LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN for our March pick.  I’m thrilled  This novel has been on my shelf for months and months, and now I need to get it read in the next 2 weeks.

Here are just a few of the reviews which are posted on Mr. McCann’s website:

“The first great 9/11 novel” –Esquire Magazine

“One of the most electric, profound novels…in years. “Let the Great World Spin” is an emotional tour de force. It is a heartbreaking book, but not a depressing one. [It] can feel like a precursor to another novel of colliding cultures: “The Bonfire of the Vanities”. –NY Times Book Review [NY Times Book Review Podcast is here]

Amazon.com’s 2009 Book of the Year : Colum McCann has worked some exquisite magic with Let the Great World Spin, conjuring a novel of electromagnetic force that defies gravity. The final pages hum with such grace that its memory might tighten your throat weeks later.” –Mari Malcolm (Amazon.com)

“…an act of pure bravado.” –oprah.com

“McCann makes his prose dance across the surface of this ingeniously constructed novel. He is a fearless writer, experimenting with narrative styles, leaping from one story to the next.” — The Telegraph (UK)

So I should love this book, right?  I should be devouring it.  Yet, I’ve tried to start it twice — twice — and can’t get past page 30.  Page 30 is my wall.  What is it about this book that’s putting me off?

By all accounts, this novel is Brilliant! Heartbreaking! Profound! Genius! What the hell is wrong with me?

**   Have you ever felt intimidated by how scary-good the reviews are?  **


P.S.  I missed the Jazmin Darznik reading last night.  Real life intervened.  Her book remains on my to-read list though.


12 thoughts on “Spin It

  1. Lyra

    Sometimes it’s the pressure to love a book that gets in the way, as if somehow you’re missing out on the joke.

    Herzog was that for me. I just couldn’t get through it. It was one of the few books I had to set down after more than a hundred pages. Although, I still plan to go back at some point. The thing that killed me about that one was that everything about it was supposed to be so funny, and I just didn’t get it. I felt dumb. I LOVE funny. Alas, keep learning, keep growing.

    With yours, I say keep reading, skim reading if you have to. If you drift off don’t worry about it, just keep going and maybe at some point it’ll click. Let me know, it’s on my list too.

  2. glasseye

    Yeah, I hear you. This may be why I read so much non-fiction. It’s brain candy, making me fat. When I get to your page 30 in a novel, I skip to the last chapter and see whether having an inkling of where we’re going will draw me through to the end. It’s all wrong, but it feels so right….

  3. Downith

    My mother keeps banging on about this book and ever since she read it, her mantra has become “Let the great world spin.”

    Skim skim skim.

  4. macdougal street baby

    I haven’t skimmed since college. Totally valid technique. I wish I had been reminded of it as I was slogging through The Suffering. Thankfully my book club is tonight. Can’t wait to meet this author!

  5. James King

    I happened to have enjoyed that book, very much in fact, but I know the frustration of not “seeing” what the reviewers saw. In fact, I’m considering abandoning a book with three pages of rave reviews up front. I’m actually getting angry at the author.

  6. Les

    You know, I read a solid half of this book, then set it on the coffee table, and I think at the time it got buried under an MFA reading list and a couple of classes. It’s back on the shelf now, so looks like I’ll have to get it out and read along with you!

  7. Laura

    I’m almost embarrassed that I haven’t read this one yet — like you, it’s been in my to-read pile for ages. Maybe I’ll pretend I’m in your book club and read it along with you. (After I finish the dozen books currently on the top of that to-read list, of course…)

  8. Teri Post author

    It’s 4:00 on Friday afternoon, and I’m making some progress with this book. I’m hoping to get a big chunk read by Sunday — before the Oscars.

  9. Sherry Stanfa-Stanley

    Oh, I wish I’d come by earlier this week to chime in! Loved, loved, LOVED that book. Honestly, it was one of my favorite books over the past several years. I recommended it to lots of people with this caveat: It’s very slow-going at the beginning, but stick with it past the first 50 pages or so–it’s well worth it. Once you get past the initial story of the two brothers and get into all the characters and their own stories, and then how their lives all intertwine. I thought it was fascinating and so well written. You just have to get past the first 50 or so (goes against everything agents will tell you, eh?). I hope you end up liking it nearly as much as I did!

  10. lisahgolden

    I need to get out from under my rock. I hadn’t even heard of this book.

    And I tried to listen to the audio book and read Franzen’s Freedom and just could not relate to the characters.

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