There are books that are very difficult to read. Being as obsessed as I am with "reading it all", and wanting to tackle all of the books listed on my Great First Lines of Literature coffee mug, I had to read this book, no matter how hard it is to read. Not because it was just on my mug but because Thomas Pynchon is listed in a few of my reference books and Gravity's Rainbow happens to be the most often mentioned books of his to be read...
I tell you now... it was a doozy. That is where the title of my blog entry comes in today. I have tips for die-hard readers who want to tackle this particular book (which was a really hard slog).
First, I found it hard to begin (even with it's Great First Line!), and I had to backtrack a few times before I could get into the rhythm of it. I had the ebook to start, but felt that it was too hard to move around in (going backwards and forwards as I did), I considered buying a hard copy (but after some progress through both the ebook and the audio, I found my disgust for the subjects in the book made me very reluctant to hold such a book in my hand! I knew for certain that I would never wish to revisit this novel ever!). So the audio book was my primary route through this book with the ebook on hand for some clarifications on certain names etc.,
Essentially, I think that Gravity's Rainbow is all about what men may like to do with their penises (and I'm not saying that all men would want to do this!). I could look beyond the various sexual encounters in this book, and the sex-free portions to try and find the underlying meaning of what it is all about, but to me it read like something I remember learning in college at one of my psychology courses and it bored me to tears then (what else could the rockets be about but the many ways of "lifting off"?). I truly do not care about complexes, ids, egos or the bodily fluids of humans and what they might want to do with them. It is not essential to my understanding of the world to know or care about such things. I should state that while I was disgusted about a lot of what I read, I am not standing in judgement of what two consenting adults may like to do to each other, honestly it is none of my business!
So, on to the tips. I strongly recommend that you not drink or eat while reading this book or even have much food in your stomach (this really helped me a great deal). I was nauseous a time or two before I decided to cut out the food and drink. I also recommend that you give yourself some time after reading each installment to soothe or cleanse your mind of what you read (it can be very disturbing). Music is great, a fluffy, comfort read is good ( I would visit some of my favourite fan fiction sites), poetry can be helpful... I mixed it up because I didn't want to associate any of my favourite things too much with what I was reading.
You should know... I don't think that there really was any point to this book. No real purpose other than my statement on what I think it was about (penises). Or maybe all of the gross stuff just distracted me from what Pynchon was trying to say... I'm not interested in re-reading this book to find out!