what i'm reading

I'm completely stalled on At Canaan's Edge. This is the final book in Taylor Branch's trilogy subtitled "America In The King Years". It's a huge doorstop of a book, and very dense. So were the first two books, and I loved those. This one... I'm having some problems with.

Branch has an unfortunate tendency to overwhelm the reader with details. While the well-chosen detail brings clarity and focus, mountains of extraneous detail can obscure all meaning. The book is full of long, winding sentences, clauses looped onto clauses, often using odd constructions that force me to read a sentence two or three times before I understand it. One after the next after the next.

I feel more like I'm plowing through this book to absorb information than actually enjoying the experience of reading.

This is a big disappointment, as I loved the first two books, and was eagerly awaiting this one.

I long ago stopped forcing myself to finish every book I start, as long as I give it a good chance. (After giving up on a book, I'll often wonder if I did give it a fair shot, and I'll try again - almost always with the same result.) But having read the first two 1,000-page books in this trilogy, and a good two-thirds of this last one, there's no way I'm going to quit.

But I am going to take a break.

My library card plus a list of novels I want to read will save me. Then I'll come back to King, Hoover, Johnson, the Klan, George Wallace, Robert McNamara, Stokeley Carmichael, Watts, Chicago, Selma, Vietnam, and everything else in the world in 1967.

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