two episodes and 100 pages. i will give a book 100 pages.
The funny thing is that, while the shelves/Kindle are littered with books that I’ve started and crapped out on, it’s never been because of a literary version of the “two episode test,” a conscious decision to quit the book. It’s normally because something else catches my eye and I can’t help myself.
However, my stubbornness regarding one book has caused me to become a virtual non-reader.
I have a favorite writer: Michael Chabon (so typical, a Jewish guy from the burbs and wants to be a writer digs Chabon). I’ve been totally sold since the first book of his that I read. I typically devour new Chabon books, sporadic though they are, and re-read them over and over.
That is, until “Telegraph Avenue.” It’s been out for two years and a couple of weeks, and I still haven’t finished it. If any writer had published this, I’d have called it bad. For this to come from Michael Chabon, even ignoring the fact that he’s my favorite writer, someone with his depth of talent, it is shockingly awful. There are a bunch of reasons I hate it, but the biggest is that all of the dialogue from African-American characters reads like a white, upper-middle-class guy’s mental image of how they must speak behind whitey’s back, and I just can’t get past it.
But because Chabon is so important to me, I feel like closing the door on “Telegraph Avenue” would be a kind of betrayal. And so, I just don’t read.
My wife has tried to convince me a number of times to just move on, and I can’t let myself do it. I may never read again.