17 May 2010

The Pure and the Impure by Colette

Today I'm supposed to post my review of Colette's The Pure and the Impure as part of the Spotlight Series. This month, participating bloggers are shedding light on books published by New York Review of Books classics. This morning, I set my alarm for 4:00 A.M., thinking I could race through and finish the book and then write a quick review, meeting my obligation. After a half hour of reading, I realized that I was ruining The Pure and the Impure for myself so I could meet a blogging deadline.

I took a deep breath and stopped. I love Colette, but I wasn't going to love The Pure and Impure because I was starting to skim the words and had thoughts only of finishing, not of savoring. Then I thought about the work deadlines I have this week and wondered why I was giving up my sleep to read for my blog. Not a smart move. I will be starting this slim volume over again and will have a review some time very soon.

Here's the publisher's summary:

Colette herself considered The Pure and the Impure her best book, “the nearest I shall ever come to writing an autobiography.” This guided tour of the erotic netherworld with which Colette was so intimately acquainted begins in the darkness and languor of a fashionable opium den. It continues as a series of unforgettable encounters with men and, especially, women whose lives have been improbably and yet permanently transfigured by the strange power of desire. Lucid and lyrical, The Pure and the Impure stands out as one of modern literature’s subtlest reckonings not only with the varieties of sexual experience, but with the always unlikely nature of love.

The Pure and the Impure at Powell's
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Published by New York Review of Books, 2000
ISBN-13: 9780940322486

I will be reading The Pure and the Impure as part of the Spotlight Series, developed to "help . . . spread the word on quality books published by small press publishers." For more information and to join future spotlight projects, visit the series's blog.


Chrisbookarama 5/17/10, 7:32 AM  

Sounds decadent! Thanks for participating. Hope you get to enjoy the book properly once you have time.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 5/17/10, 7:40 AM  

I love those covers from the NYRB Classics - they're so ... classic!

You are so smart to recognize your limits and the fact that you were rushing thru (and thus not enjoying) the book. I haven't yet read anything Colette has written, but I'm intrigued by the publisher's summary you've supplied, and the fact that you want to read when you have time to really take in the text.

Thanks for sharing those thoughts with us!

Julie P. 5/17/10, 8:02 AM  

Probably a smart thing to take a step back. I think a lot of us are feeling the crunch this week. I know I am.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) 5/17/10, 8:45 AM  

I would much rather wait and get a review later than to read one where you are rushed and somewhat resenting the book. Good move.

Peppermint Ph.D. 5/17/10, 9:00 AM  

I agree with Nicole...I would much rather read a heartfelt review after you've read and enjoyed the book rather than one that you've had to rush through. What is the point of us talking about our books if it becomes a chore? I'm a new reader of your blog so thanks for this honest post :)

Aarti 5/17/10, 11:30 AM  

Oh, Candace, I'm so sorry this deadline stressed you out so much! Please take your time and enjoy :-)

The Bumbles 5/17/10, 12:55 PM  

Yes - read for the experience of reading - otherwise it turns into an assignment and those are rarely enjoyable.

Sandy Nawrot 5/17/10, 1:14 PM  

Crazy how we do this stuff to ourselves. I know once in awhile I have to remind myself that number one, I am not paid for this. Two, it is supposed to be a fun hobby. And three, I have an insane life that needs tending now and again. I'm glad you allowed yourself to step back and regroup.

Dorte H 5/17/10, 2:48 PM  

Good decision!

I have not been too successful at cutting down on my blog posts, but I am better at staying away from my blog for a day or two if I have other things to do.

bermudaonion 5/17/10, 4:31 PM  

You totally did the right thing. There's nothing worse than reading under duress. It's not fair to you or the book you're reviewing.

Jenners 5/17/10, 7:55 PM  

I think you did the right thing ... both for yourself and for the book.

Nise' 5/17/10, 9:04 PM  

Yes, you did the right thing. I hope you went back to sleep.

Cat 5/18/10, 4:45 PM  

Wise move - pressure takes away the fun and enjoyment.I look forward to your review.

Alice 5/20/10, 1:54 AM  

I've been having that sort of feeling lately and that's why I am blogging only about twice a week. I am making time for other interests and sleep is definitely one of them. I'm glad you made the smart decision of not rushing through the book just for the sake of writing a blog post about it. :)

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