Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My biggest failure this year: Magic Mountain

I have to confess:  I have not gone back to read more of Magic Mountain since, well, the end of my first read-a-thon the first Saturday in January.  I'm stuck at 250 or so pages, and every time I look at it on the bookshelf next t o my reading chair, I feel a) guilty about not finishing it, and b) not interested enough to get going again on reading it.  Why?

Yes, indeed, why?  When I told one of my colleagues, a medievalist, that I was starting MM, and she got very excited.  She told me it is her favorite novel, and how much she loves it.  I haven't been able to see the source of that excitement yet.

I know it's an important modernist novel.  And at some level, it is (somewhat) interesting.  But, uh, I haven't pushed through it.

I feel like I can't abandon this one--especially because I made very public my progress through it during the read-a-thon.  I feel like I have to finish it.

So what book have you started over the last few months that you can't seem finish?


  1. I have The Magic Mountain to read one day but I keep bottling out of it! Years ago I got through Buddenbrooks and enjoyed it (traumatised by the dentist scene, tho'). Not that long ago, I did begin Hermann Hesse's The Glass Bead Game and got through a mere 20 pages before giving up. There's a certain kind of intellectual German novel that really does take some chewing.

  2. With Magic Mountain, I feel like I should read it. I know I'll eventually do so. I've had a similar experience with Musil's Man without Qualities: I get through about 300 pages, and then entropy sets in. Perhaps we need an annual "Summarize Mann/Musil"contest, a la Monty Python with Proust.