‘The novel to come’ syndrome…

When reading a long narrative, it is quite possible to be distracted by the idea of what you plan to read next. If you’ve selected something particularly intriguing, your current reading might seem somewhat ordinary. The anticipation can lead you to undervalue what you have on the page before you. It is vital to focus on one sentence at a time.

This dilemma was brought home to me recently. I’m reading ‘Felix Holt, the Radical’ by George Eliot. I will review it in due course. Suffice to say, like much of her work it has many solid strengths. However, I’ve been fortunate enough to acquire a copy of ‘Lost Illusions’ by Honoré de Balzac. This has been recommended to me by somebody who has read the book twice. It is now sitting on a pile of novels.

I am having to show great discipline and read slowly about the behaviour of Felix Holt. His interactions with other characters are of considerable interest. It would be a shame to miss out on the finer points of the text because I am enchanted at the prospect of reading more Balzac.    

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