I’m trying to plow through the 50 annotations I need to do for my thesis defense and it’s frustrating the hell out of me. Once I’ve put the time and attention into reading a novel, I really want to get an annotation out of it, but what do you do when the book leaves you cold and you don’t know what’s so special about it? Do you write about what didn’t work for you and risk looking like an unlettered heathen, or do you try and BS through a two-page paper, trying to make up reasons why it’s awesome? I’ve done some one way and some the other, but I’m really stuck on My Antonia by Willa Cather. It’s… okay. I just don’t get why it’s considered a masterpiece. It’s two people living their lives and going their separate ways. Considering my love for Jane Austen, it’s not like I need non-stop explosions and torrid love affairs to keep me happy, but I’m just not loving this one. Anyone want to tell me what I’m missing here? Bueller?
Out of the 26 annotations I’ve done so far, half were for books that really blew me away. Beautiful language, profound plots, fascinating characters, etc. And of the other half, I’ve at least been able to figure out what the author was trying to do, or some cool technique they applied, even if the book wasn’t really my thing. But somehow, a book like this calls up all those feelings of my tenth grade English teacher snarling at me that the only reason I could possibly dislike Jane Eyre is that I’m too stupid to grasp it fully. Gah.
On a related note, queenemiwee, I just read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed and you were right, it was absolutely awesome. I can’t remember the last time I had to fight down screams of laughter in Barnes and Noble!