I made it to chapter 20 in Don Quixote. I am finally enjoying the book. It took a little while, but I realized that the key to my misery was twofold: first, I was putting pressure on myself to get it done, and second, I was taking this thing for a serious novel. So I had a talk with myself...
K1. Why are you really doing this?
K2. Ummmm...I'm starting to forget. Oh yes, the Well Educated Mind goal. I want to read the classics.
K1. Did you read the bio of Cervantes?
K2. Yes, as a matter of fact, I did. He wasn't much better off than D.Q. He was poor, landed himself in jail a couple of times, couldn't scrape out a living from writing. In fact, he couldn't make anything really until he met Don Quixote, the madman who made him famous.
K1. Why do people like to read?
K2. People read primarily to be entertained, and if not that, informed.
K1. Right, so DQ was...?
K2. Entertainment. Okay, I see where you're going with this!
K1. Let me point something out...you're approaching this like a kid in high school who has a lit assignment. You're __ years old for crying out loud!
K2. And your point is...?
K1. DQ is an entertaining story written for people in the 1500's who were no different than people today, except that they were a lot dirtier and had many more animals than we have now. But they were entertained by observing other people's insanity, about which most of life revolves, right? Isn't one of our most satisfying endeavors that of finding someone who is more crazy than ourselves? My point is that you need to read it for what it is--something of a cartoon strip for the sixteenth century!
K2. True, and I have no doubt that Cervantes was thinking of all the eggheads who would read and analyze and write about his silly book (yeah, right). He was probably just happy to have a piece of silver in his hand with which to buy a piece of bread, thanks to DQ. Thanks. I think I can get through this book now.
So this is how the conversation with myself went. I have even found myself laughing out loud at this guy's antics. I spend most of my time in the book pitying his poor, stupid "squire" who is not crazy, but dumb enough to hook up with the likes of DQ, who has promised to give him an island to rule. Poor idiot. I do pity the bloke.