My bookgroup is currently reading Arthur and George, a 2005 novel by Julian Barnes about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his attempt to clear the name of George Edalji, who had been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned by the British courts. This was the British equivalent of the Dreyfuss case, although here the unspoken motive was racism instead of anti-Semitism.
This book is not holding my attention: it is two-thirds back story, relating in flatly objective and elaborately detailed prose the entire biography of both protagonists. So I turned of course to my computer. The book is much praised. The negative reviewers disliked it for the same reasons I am having to force myself through it. 440 pages of tiny print… is this worth all my leisure reading time for several weeks? No, no, and no again.
But I forced my way through to page 287… and I do enjoy book group… so I will finish in spite of the fact I found out all I need or want to know about the Edalji case right here! It is indeed an interesting milestone in British jurisprudence!
Finishing will involve my tried and true techniques for speed reading. Scanning down the center of the page is not working… there are no key words that pop up. Alternate pages aren’t working… I still have to wade through too much detail. Skimming every topic sentence…SETS is an improvement, but not quite there. Read a paragraph per page… RAPPP…okay. So now a combination RAPSETS is working effectively. This is my own method, developed by trial and error over the years.
I much prefer to linger over every page, savouring details, sorry when the book is ended. I am not finding many of those any more. If you know of any, send me their names!
Barnes’ novel refers often to Sherlock Holmes, so I went to Roger Ebert’s website to check out some movie reviews. Most of the Sherlock Holmes stories I have seen recently have been on television, but several excellent new movies have been made as well.
I really enjoy Ebert’s website, his blog, and his reviews. Like the late Christopher Hitchens, Ebert is battling cancer without flinching and without withdrawing from public life! He is speechless and badly disfigured, but his mind is as sharp as ever!
I will come back tomorrow to talk about movies and his review of one of my favourite films.