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Good books?

My friend Jane got me thinking today.  I went round to her house to deliver a load of books I had finished with.  Amongst them was The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, which she had already read.  Now I liked Harold Fry, and enjoyed it, but when I started a post, I found I couldn’t quite finish it off.

Jane said – “After you had finished reading it, did you think about it at all?  Did you remember anything about it?”

It did affect me at the time.  But when I went back over it to write about it, I found it wasn’t nearly as affecting the second time.  There was lots to recommend it, but I was held back from posting about it because I didn’t feel compelled to say – You should definitely read this.

I found the same thing when I came to start a post about Alys, Always by Harriet Lane.  It was a pretty book.  It was clever.  But those weren’t quite reason enough for me to be able to say – You must read this.

To me, the biggest problem with Pilgrimage was that the relationship between Harold and Queenie wasn’t quite emotionally powerful and real enough.  And with Alys, I found a lack of real emotional core disappointing.  It was interesting, because when I started blogging, I thought I was going to be focusing a lot more on books than I have done.  But I have found that in general (with the exception of The Red House, which was exquisite), the things I have watched recently were built more around a strong emotional centre than the things I have read.

Is it just me or is it somehow central to the being of a film or a programme or a show that there has to be a bigger emotional pay off?  Does the high cost of producing these media in comparison to the cost of producing a book mean that there is greater pressure to produce an audience grabbing “moment” or similar memorable experience?

Or maybe I am just reading the wrong things.  Does anyone have any recommendations to prove me wrong??


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