In Medias Res (IMR)

IMR | Tristram Shandy | I Give Up! (For now…)

shandySo remember when I said Tristram Shandy was a light, easy read?

It was like that for about 50 pages. Then quickly descended to Paradise Lost levels.

The difference between Tristram Shandy and Paradise Lost, however, is that I feel like I would really like this book if I had the time to digest it slowly and take it all in.

It’s a really deep book about humanity, individuals, empathy, trains of thought, the imperfectness of communication, of the human body, of ourselves. My professor really sells this book well in lecture, talking about all the things packing into this digression of a novel.

My only problem is that I’m speed reading through this thing, meaning after ten pages I look up and wonder, “What did I just read?”

And I really shouldn’t be doing that with this book. This book deserves more than that. It deserves more of my attention.

I really feel this way is because I just relate to the book so well. A million years ago, I endeavoured to write an essay entitled “Life May Now Resume its Regular Broadcasting,” in which I thought about how when people talk to you or you notice something that excites you, it “interrupts” your life plans like those emergency newscasts. I never got past the title because I had no idea how to write it.

But Laurence Sterne has. Tristram Shandy is what I was hoping to achieve, to convey. Life and plans never go in a straight line: there are always diversions and trials and obstacles. And if there weren’t any, what’s the fun in that?

And I want to properly experience those diversions, those distractions. It’s what makes reading a book so fun. It’s what makes life fun.

So for now, I’m resorting to Sparknotes and lecture notes to get by on this book. I’ve got too much other stuff to do. (Imagine, a diversion from diversions…) I did flag a bunch of stuff though, so a Notable Quotables post isn’t far behind! Hopefully, I’ll return to this book and give it the attention it deserves, because I feel like if I get the opportunity to read it properly, I’ll really love this book.

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3 thoughts on “IMR | Tristram Shandy | I Give Up! (For now…)

  1. I actually am incredibly interested in your thoughts for your “Life May Now Resume its Regular Broadcasting” idea. Perhaps you could start it out as a series of blog posts and then form a more concise article from there? It is an interesting concept and I know it is one I would enjoy reading, I tend to get caught up in that type of thing. Best of luck with it!

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    1. Hmmm, maybe. My problem with the idea was that I really didn’t know how to convey it into words (yet another idea in Tristram Shandy). All the thoughts were there, but there is something so abstract about it that I’d probably end up writing a modern version of Tristram Shandy in the process. You’ve definitely given me the motivation to consider it again though!

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