Thursday, May 01, 2008

Why I Stopped Reading The Yiddish Policeman's Union

Thursday, May 01, 2008
This better not be a trend: quitting on the Hugo Novel Nominees. The Yiddish Policeman’s Union just won the Nebula for Best Novel, it is written by a Pulitzer Prize winning author (Michael Chabon), and features some excellent alternate history where in 1948 the United States allowed Jewish refugees to settle in Alaska for a period of 60 years.

So why did I stop?

Not because the book is bad, let me that perfectly clear. Sometimes it just isn’t time to read a particular book. Over the past two weeks I’ve tried to read The Yiddish Policeman’s Union in drips and drabs and it just hasn’t worked for me. Two weeks and I was only seventy pages into a book by an author I admire with a subject that I am very much interested in. It wasn’t the right time for me to read this book.

Unlike Halting State, I will come back to The Yiddish Policeman’s Union. This is a major work from a great author and I would be disappointed if I didn’t read it.

I don’t think the prose is flat, but Chabon definitely takes his own sweet time to get the story and the murder investigation rolling.

Some books are worth coming back to. Sometimes the reader isn’t quite ripe enough yet.


Pierre Bellamont said...

LOL man! Whatever you need to tell yourself. :P

Anonymous said...

Pierre's comment made me laugh out loud. I agree with him. It's ok to say when you're just not feeling something…even when that something is by an awesome author. Just because it’s up for a thousand awards, does not mean you need to like it. I LOVED Chabon’s Kavalier and Clay but I’m not sure if I see myself reading anything else by him unless it’s faster-paced.

Joe Sherry said...


That's funny.

Nah, I wasn't feeling it then, but I think it's something I'm still going to read and like. I didn't love Kavalier and Clay, but I do prefer Wonder Boys.

Halting State, on the other hand, I'm done with. Nominations or not.

RobB said...

I loved Kavalier and Klay and Summerland but found the pacing on this book tough. I thought it was interesting, but not his best work. I almost stopped a couple of times, but basically, you aren't the only one who found the book rough-going

Joe Sherry said...

That's good to know. Thanks, Rob.

I completely forgot about Summerland. I bought the book years ago in hardcover but never read it. It's just sitting on my shelf nestled in between My Antonia and a biography of Alexander Hamilton (Cather and Chernow)

ThRiNiDiR said...

Had the same thing in mind as Pierre and the anonymous guy...I always try to convince myself that the book has merit, a large following and plethora of awards to back it up...but if the book does not work for me now it won't work for me later...

Andy Wolverton said...

I don't know how much time you spend in the car or if you even like audiobooks, but I listened to Yiddish Policemen's Union while driving and was absolutely spellbound for 95% of it. There were a few stretches, however, where I probably would have put the print version down for awhile.

Joe Sherry said...

Not too interested in audiobooks. My drive is only 20 minutes and I enjoy the morning show on the ride in (and sports talk on the ride's what helps me keep up with guy type sports conversations)

◄Design by Pocket Distributed by Deluxe Templates