Sunday, 20 July 2008

Iris: A Memoir of Iris Murdoch - John Bayley

I have a strange hang-up which makes me want to finish every book I start. Every book. I can't help it. So I choose books carefully. If I don't think it's something I want to finish, I'd rather not pick it up in the first place.

I can't bear to watch fluffy chick-flicks, but have to admit to occasionally having a mental blob out with a bit of chick-lit over the years, mostly to give me an escape from all the academic reading and writing I've done for work and study. You know the type: Marian Keyes, Maeve Binchy, ... I've even indulged in the odd Shopaholic book or two, despite the fact that I don't like shoppping or maxing out my credit card.

However, I fear that all that may have now come to an end. I tried (and tried) to get through a bit of light, comedic fluff and failed abysmally. Despite the best of intentions, I simply couldn't get past page 100 of My Best Friend's Life (2008) by Shari Low, and that's with my hang-up about not being able to leave any book unfinished! Maybe I've grown up without realising it? Can I ever go back to reading trashy chick-lit and enjoying it? Possibly not. But will I miss it? Probably not. So this book went back to the library (after all, I'm not going to pay overdue fines for something I don't even want to read) and I returned to the familiar pile of unfinished books on my bedside table.

I concede defeat.

I decided to pick up a biography I've been dipping in and out of for a while. Today, I finished the first book in The Iris Trilogy, by John Bayley. Iris: A Memoir of Iris Murdoch (1998) tells the story of author Dame Iris Murdoch's life and eventual descent into Alzheimer's disease as written by her husband. Although I haven't read any of her works, I loved the biopic movie, Iris (2001). Bayley's writing style could be described as fond and endearing, but without the heavy emotional overtones expected in writing of this nature. I look forward to reading the next two installments in the trilogy: Iris and the Friends: A Year of Memories (1999) and Widower's House (2001).

1 comment:

Kelly said...

I'm exactly the same: I cannot start a book and then not finish it, no matter how dire it may be.

The only time I have ever broken this rule is with prehaps the most terribly written book in the world - The Amnesiac by Sam Taylor