I’ve re-started The Starless Sea once, decided to re-start again but didn’t, once, and am now in the process of deciding whether to actually re-start it again or not. πŸ“š

It’s not that I don’t like it. I love it.

The problem is a problem I’ve had since my son’s birth: I live life in little fragments. So I tried reading a chapter/section before going to bed each night. But The Starless Sea alternates between a main narrative and vignettes/stories that are sort of a story-within-a-story situation. And when I read one a night, I’m getting either a main story chapter, or a vignette. And then when I pick up the next night I’m getting the other one. And when I get to a new main story chapter, I can’t really remember where I am in the story.

This isn’t Erin Morgenstern’s fault. Erin Morgenstern doesn’t write books that are meant to be consumed in tiny bites over the course of days and days. Nor does she write books that are to be binged, wolfed down. Her books are the sort of thing that you need a long stretch of time to get into, but you also need to savor. Her books are like a many course meal. You don’t want to move through it quickly, but you don’t want to spread it out over days. You want to enjoy each piece of it and how the whole thing works together. You don’t want to get to the third course and be unable to remember what the first course was.

I’m experimenting with extended metaphor here. I’m not 100% satisfied with how it’s turning out.

Her books are kind of like a really excellent narrative video game. You wouldn’t want to play it 5 minutes at a time, day after day. You wouldn’t want to play a little and then wait a month to play more (this is how I play video games lately, btw, and it is very unsatisfying). You wouldn’t want to play it and rush through so fast you have no idea what’s going on. You would want to spend 40 - 100 hours on it over the course of a few weeks, in long stretches of 4 - 8 hours (with bathroom and eating breaks, because you’re not about denying your bodily needs, even for video games).

Anyway. The first re-read, I stayed up really late and got through maybe the first 50 pages or so. Lately, I’ve been too sleepy to do that. But I think I’m going to go back to the beginning and start again. And then if I get annoyed because the first 100 pages are too familiar or whatever, I’ll find either where I left off, or where things started to get confusing, and pick up there.

Kimberly Hirsh @kimberlyhirsh