Monday, April 30, 2012

Clarissa in April: Failure.

Well, it is officially the end of April, and I should be posting about how amazingly wonderful it was to read all of Samuel Richardson's Clarissa in one month.

If you didn't guess by the title, I should clue you in. My attempt to read Clarissa this month was a total failure. I think that the three of us who were attempting this (Adam and Jillian were my partners in crime) all felt like we "could" do it, but none of us did. I think Jillian made it the furthest before setting it aside, and by stalking Adam on Goodreads, he only made it to page 165. My Goodreads isn't up to date (I should fix that), but I only made it to page 450 or so.

So why did we all seem to fail?

Personally, I had way too much going on in the month of April to concentrate on such a BIG book. Since my copy is so massive and heavy, it didn't fit easily in my purse (in fact, it doesn't fit at all), so it stayed home a lot of the time and smaller books were brought with me. I also had a really hard time reading it in bed, which is where I spend a lot of time reading. I usually read while on my back, but after being smacked in the face once by not holding the book steady, I gave up. It also killed my hands to hold it open for long periods of time.

I also think I simply misjudged my abilities to plow through it as I intended. The first 200 pages or so are incredibly repetitive, so I struggled to get past that point (now it is A LOT better). The font is small, and the pages are large.

More than anything else, I was simple too busy to read it in April. I had some new units to prep for school that required me to reread those books, and since I was so worn out, I could only read 20 or so pages of Clarissa at a time before throwing the towel and moving on to something easier.

So, I sadly have to admit that I failed in reading this in April. I'm not sure I can actually set a date for finishing it, but ideally, I'd like to be done with it by the end of August. It is the perfect book for rainy summer days, so I hope that at some point I can say, "Hey! I finished that really big book I was talking about!"

(I also have plans to read Richardson's Pamela this year, so we'll see how that goes).


  1. I just can't stick to one title fpor that long. I kept craving other reads, and finally decided it was silly not to read what was actually calling me. I am sure I'll eventually finish it, but I want to do it with the right mindset. Not "I have to get through clarissa again today -- ugh" (which is what I was thinking in those last couple days) but, "It's been a while since I visited Clarissa. I'm going to read that tonight." For some crazy reason, I feel like I'll be able to pick up right where I left off. :)

    I made it to page 500!

  2. Reading this book in a month is a huge undertaking! I'm still plodding along at letter 87 (around p.350) and my schedule has pretty much been abandoned. The March letters were a drag, but it improved in April. I like Jillian's attitude: "It's been a while since I visited Clarissa. I'm going to read that tonight."

    We'll be discussing for the rest of the year, so feel free to drop in . We've also been using #Clarissa on twitter.

  3. Oh my lord, just the mention of Pamela brings me out in a cold sweat... Trying to resist the urge to yell DON'T DO IT, but whoops, I just did! But anyway, I hope you enjoy Clarissa when you do read it, and, you know, don't sweat over it!

    Love, someone who will never read Clarissa because Richardson has SCARRED me for life!

  4. Yeah, have fun with Pamela. I'm with Laura on this one - just say no, kids! I mean, it's so ludicrously awful that it bridges that gap between bad and so bad it's funny, so there is at least a little entertainment value at least.

  5. Hi, I wouldn't worry about it. You'll finish it when you finish it and not before. Besides, by giving yourself more time you won't have to rush through the book.

  6. I know it's weak to link to your own post- but i read clarissa in april- and here is the review i just posted:

    it's part of my (admittedly cheesy) project of reading all 1001 Books To Read Before You Die- only 2 left in the 1700s.

  7. I'm still amazed that you even tried to read it all in one month! You can read along with those of us doing the year-long read. :) I don't recommend reading it and Pamela in one year...but I'm not a Richardson fan. The only reason to read Pamela is so you can better appreciate the humor in Joseph Andrews and Shamela by Henry Fielding. :)

  8. I never once said that we could do it! In fact, I'm pretty sure I called you both crazy, multiple times.

    So, really, even though you both made it further into the book than I did, I think I win because I was right. :P

  9. I'm impressed that you guys attempted it at all, as long as it is! Hopefully you can get through it down the road without too much difficulty. :)

  10. I'm part of the year-long read, and I'm even way behind on that...

  11. I can completely sympathise here. I stupidly thought I would manage to read Bleak House and Ulysses in a month, concurrently. I've learned my lesson (and possibly that I'm sick of Dickens for the time being), maybe I ought to get involved in some challenges to help spur me on. A lot of the problem for me was, that I'd read and written reviews for a few books, and the imperative to keep my blog up-to-date is often what gives me the kick-up-the-backside that I need on occassion. With that lacking, I'm floundering mid-way through both. Phew, summer projects maybe? :)

  12. Dear Madam,

    My "Clarissa" is indeed a long book, the longest book in English--nearly 100,000 words total, about 200,000 more than the Bible. Try to conceive, then, if you can, the depth of my talents in writing it.

    Yet I honor your decision to read this rather pursy version of my "Clarissa," despite its injurious effects upon your bones and your vision, rather than the abridged one. Depend upon it, your suffering is noble and shall be greatly rewarded in the after-life.

    I would be happy to make your acquaintance and offer you some words of advice on how you may finish reading my "Clarissa." Until then I remain

    Your humble servant,