August 21, 2009

Oprah Producer Reads Starts Middlemarch

Back in June, I noted that one of the producers of Oprah's Book Club was planning to read Middlemarch this summer. Then her blog went completely silent. Now we learn that although she "hit the beach" with several versions of the novel and good intentions, she didn't manage to read it, but she's still trying. Maybe I should send her a link to my interview with Nigel--although I'm not sure I inspired him to finish it either. The good news is that other people have been reading the book because of her. I always think that the more people who read Middlemarch the better!


La Franglaise said...

Why do you think people aren't able to finish it? I have a lot of student colleagues who have been telling me the same thing, they've never been able to get through it.

Peter said...

I have the same question. I mean, I know it's enormous, but it's also a tight, finely crafted novel. I haven't read it in ten years, but even as someone who doesn't particularly privilege endings and who sometimes lets a book go three quarters of the way through because I've been satisfied, I felt compelled to reach the resolution. And, believe me, I had scads of other reading and work to accomplish at the time.

Rohan Maitzen said...

As I told Nigel, the first time I read it (at 19, during an epic backpacking trip across Europe) I was enthralled by what I thought was a great love story. OK, the novel seems pretty different to me now, but I wonder if part of what gets in the way for some people is the whole "greatest 19thC novel" baggage it carries: I had the freedom (and time, of course) just to read it as a book. One problem I know my students have is that they lose interest (temporarily, I hope) when the story moves away from Dorothea the first time. Eventually they learn that their frustration is precisely the point ("But why always Dorothea?"). I think that's a wonderful moment that, like so many others, helps us learn how to read this particular book. Others get bogged down in the exposition--though of course for some, the narrator's commentary is the best part. Some of it is just what you are used to, and I'm not sure length has much to do with that: I really struggled with Mrs Dalloway, though it's very short by my usual standards.