Stalled on Melmoth

I'm a little more than halfway through Melmoth the Wanderer, the latest book to come up randomly on my reading list.  No matter how much I try, I can't seem to really get into it.  In fact, I'm finding it more than a little boring, a fact which bothered me a little.  It is, after all, a seminal work of horror literature, and being a horror guy I expected it to speak to me a whole lot more than it does.

For a little perspective, I decided to go back to the book that turned me on to Melmoth in the first place:  Lovecraft's Supernatural Horror in Literature.  Here's what HPL had to say on the matter:

"The framework of the story is very clumsy; involving tedious length, digressive episodes, narratives within narratives, and labored dovetailing and coincidence; but at various points in the endless rambling there is felt a pulse of power undiscoverable in any previous work of this kind -- a kinship to the essential truth of human nature, an understanding of the profoundest sources of actual cosmic fear, and a white heat of sympathetic passion on the writer's part which makes the book a true document of æsthetic self-expression rather than a mere clever compound of artifice."

That about sums it up:  clumsy and tedious, with some high points that are few and far between.  When it's good, it's really good, and when it's not good (which is unfortunately the bulk of the book), it's one hell of a slog.  I find myself approaching the book like I would an especially heinous chore, and pursuing a number of other interests that are far more captivating.

Some things I'm finding more interesting than Melmoth The Wanderer:

Ex Machina:  An ongoing graphic novel series by Brian K. Vaughn of Y: The Last Man fame.  Former superhero who can talk to machines becomes mayor of New York.  How can you not like that?

Hunting Polar Bears:  My son has decided that every time he gets a little uncertain or frightened, it's because of a polar bear that's hiding somewhere in the house.  We haven't found it yet--them polar bears is crafty--but when we do, there'll be a reckoning.  Oh, yes...there will be a reckoning.

Entourage:  Why I wasn't on board with this series from day one, I have no idea, but thanks to the cajoling of my brother-in-law and the timely loan of every season on DVD, my wife and I have been cutting through it two and three episodes at a time in order to catch up in time for the season 5 premiere next month.  Ari Gold is my co-pilot!

Star Wars Comics:  The prequels were epicly disappointing and word is that the new Clone Wars animated series is even worse.  So, it's encouraging that Dark Horse has picked up the Star Wars ball, wiped off some of the shit into which it had fallen, and ran with it.  There are four ongoing series, Rebellion, Dark Times, Knights of the Old Republic and Legacy, and they're all really solid.  The only problem is that I read the trade paperbacks, so I'm always a little behind on the latest issues.

Generation Kill:  More HBO stuff, and a pretty amazing docu-drama about the early days of the Iraq war.  Very authentic and interesting.

That's all for now.  I need to get back to reading this bitter pill of a book so I can move on to something more compelling.  I'll be back with another update soon.

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