I walked over to the library at lunch today and dropped The Plague Dogs into the book drop. I’ve been told that I shouldn’t beat myself up over not being able to finish it, but I do feel badly about it. It was recommended to me, and I just couldn’t get into it.
It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t like it. I strongly recommended Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro, to both Phillip and Lynn. Neither one of them liked it, and it didn’t hurt my feelings. I still love that book.
With The Plague Dogs, I couldn’t get even halfway through it. It was the language that slowed me down and distracted me from the story. Before I left my desk for the library, I opened the book to a random page for an example of the language I was dealing with. Here’s what I found:
“Mebbies we’ll kill ower b’ Ash Gill beck or some sich place th’ neet,” went on the tod, ignoring Snitter’s sally.
I do find it interesting that the language gave me such a hard time. That sort of thing usually doesn’t bother me so much. For example, one of my favorite books is Riddley Walker, by Russell Hoban. It, too, was recommended to me, and I recommend it to others. The entire book is written in a future evolution of English. This is the opening sentence:
On my naming day when I come 12 I gone front spear and kilt a wyld boar he parbly ben the las wyld pig on the Bundel Downs any how there hadnt ben none for a long time befor him nor I aint looking to see none agen.
On my way back from the library, I got a Happy Buddha to go from Juicy Cafe, so I didn’t skip lunch.
I could have just as easily returned The Plague Dogs at the end of the day, but I didn’t want to miss the 47. In hindsight, it wouldn’t have made any difference. Metro Transit wasn’t kidding about the hot weather causing service delays. I left my desk at 4:30, and at 5:15, the 47 I was on was just crossing 5th Avenue when I received a text message from Phillip, asking me if I was OK.