NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!


Tuesday, November 18, 2008


by Graham Greene

"In a poor, remote section of southern Mexico, the Red Shirts have taken control. God has been outlawed, and the priests have been systematically hunted down and killed. Now, the last priest is on the run." -- From the back cover of the Penguin Classics edition of The Power and the Glory.

I have an issue when I read classics that I know nothing about other than the book is considered a classic and it looks really good. Do I read some background information first and get a handle on what the book is about and the themes to look for? Or do I go in cold and just see what I get out of it all on my own? I go back and forth with this decision, because the resulting experiences are very different and you can read a book for the first time only once.

I chose to go cold into The Power and the Glory. I had a hard time with it. I didn't get it, but I kept at it. And I'm glad I did. While I can't say I was blown away, there were moments that gave me pause, captured my thoughts. I'm glad I hadn't read previously about the scene in the overcrowded jail, because I was able to let it move me without thinking, "Oh, this is the part that's supposed to be so fantastic". I found out after I finished the book that, yay! I got it!

Graham Greene's writing got to me even when I wasn't exactly following the point, and that has fed my curiosity for more. Looking over a list of descriptions of his other books, I have a lot of exploring of human nature to do. Excellent! The next one I pick up by him I will faithfully read while I am fully conscious, not nodding off after a Timberwolves game.


Darlene said...

Glad you finally got through this one Lezlie and did enjoy the writing style. I as actually able to read some last night too. I'm really hoping my reading slump is on it's way out.

Jeane said...

I like to go into them cold. Although sometimes that really backfires when I don't know enough about the history to make heads or tails of it. Then I have to try again!

Michele said...

I remember really enjoying this book. In fact, all of Greene's work, but I also have to keep a pen and notebook in hand while I'm reading them so I don't miss anything important.

I'm glad you review books like these, Lezlie! It's a great reminder of how many great books that are already out there for us and it isn't just all about new releases. ;)

Marg said...

I read this for my English class in Year 11. All I can remember is that the nun that was teaching it loved it! Maybe one day I will read it again.

Lezlie said...

Dar ~ I had to tear myself away from Jewel Quest for a couple of hours, but it was worth it. :-) I hope your reading went well also!

Jeane ~ I seem to switch back and forth. I find going in cold the most frustrating, but ultimately the most rewarding. I wish I was better about following up with the rereads I keep meaning to do on some of them.

Michele ~ Thank you! I'm glad you and others enjoy them. I'm realize on shaky ground "reviewing" classics, but I think it's important to keep them alive, and not just with English majors. They can have a lot to say to any reader who chooses to tackle them.

Marg ~ LOL! If you do read it again, I'll be very interested to see your thoughts.


Shelley said...

I love Graham Greene! I don't even care about the plot usually because I love his writing. My favorite is The End of the Affair.

Anonymous said...

The only Graham Greene I've read is England Made Me, which I enjoyed. I'd like to read more of his.

I like to know a bit about an author but I don't like to know too much about the book and I usually read the introduction after I've finished the book. But when I'm struggling to understand I do read some of the introduction which sometimes helps. It's great when you find that you've "got it" without help though!

I often read late at night and next day can't remember a thing of what I read. I fall asleep with a book in my hands very easily.

Lezlie said...

Chain Reader ~ I plan on picking up a few more Greene books this week. I'll give that one a try. Thanks for the suggestion!

Books Please ~ That's exactly what happened with this one. The only time I read it was before bed. I couldn't seem to last more than a handful of pages, and I couldn't remember the next day what was going on! :-)


Andi said...

I commented on your previous post about the books I've read as a result of watching a movie, and now I find myself doing it again. This is sort of embarrassing. The first Graham Green I read was because the story "The Destructors" played a role in Donnie Darko (BEST MOVIE EVER!). It was a great story, so I picked up and looooved The End of the Affair. It seems like I've read another one of his, but it slips my mind at the moment. His writing is always great even if I'm not sold on the plot of the book.

Lezlie said...

Andi ~ I haven't seen that movie. I'll keep it in mind when we're looking for one! :-) I did, however, pick up "The End of the Affair". How could I not after two recommendations? I'm hoping to read it right after I finish up a few books I need to review.