I just finished reading Marilynne Robinson's book Gilead. I've been meaning to for a long time, and finally I assigned it for my book group and we read it last month. It was a difficult book in many ways. It's not that any of the sentences were hard to read or to understand. But there was a lot of meandering back and forth in time at first, and it was confusing.
But it was all worth the effort in the end. Marilynne Robinson has written a book that deserves to be read again and again, so rich in themes is it: slavery and freedom, pain and forgiveness, the possibility of redemption.
John Ames has led, in many ways, a small life; he has lived in the same small town almost his whole life. Yet his life touches so many of the large themes that we live with as Americans, as Christians, as human beings. So much of life has passed him by: but he has received so much happiness in the end.
It's sad that I wouldn't have read it if I hadn't forced myself. That's true of so much of life: we quit when it gets hard. I have a half a sock, a partially cross-stitched sampler, a couple of half-done stories to prove it.
So even though it is only a book, it seems like an accomplishment to have completed it.
Next we'll read something less demanding.