So the last few entries have been about getting to sleep earlier, and guess what happened last night. I stayed up until 1:30 a.m. reading The Mayor of Casterbridge. I was shocked, actually. I understand an over nighter for Twilight or The Deathly Hallows, but a book by Thomas Hardy? Really, I am turning into a total nerd.
But seriously, I have never stumbled upon such a riveting plot before. The tension starts right at the beginning when Michael Henchard and his family walk on a dusty road to the fair. You want a hint that the marriage isn’t going too well?
The woman enjoyed no society whatever from his presence. Virtually she walked the highway alone, save for the child she bore.
Michael gets stone drunk at the fair. He starts complaining about the ol’ ball and chain and then says something truly horrifying:
For my part I don’t see why men who have got wives and don’t want ’em, shouldn’t get rid of ’em as these gipsy fellows do their old horses. Why shouldn’t they put ’em up and sell ’em by auction to men who are in need of such articles. Hey? Why, begad, I’d sell mine this minute if anybody would buy her.
Can you believe this guy actually wishes he could sell his wife? He offers her up to the crowd and before he knows it, a sailor has bought his wife and child for five guineas. Talk about an opener for a story. So I just had to know what was going to happen to the sailor and the wife and the daughter and the idiot, Michael.
Wouldn’t you have done the same thing if you were me? Wouldn’t you have stayed up into the wee hours of the morning racing through the book (and skipping all of the descriptions) until you could get all of your questions answered?
My English professor said we ought to read a plot summary of a book before we starting reading the book. He reasoned that if we get to obsessed about what’s going to happen next, we read too fast and don’t appreciate the book’s artistic excellence. He was a wise man, but I have never followed his advice.
Maybe I should follow his advice. Maybe. I’ll sleep on it.
Do you ever stay up too late reading a good book?
Do you know how to pull yourself away from a good book?