Finally finished NORTHERN LIGHTS (aka THE GOLDEN COMPASS) by Philip Pullman. Phil (my husband, not the writer!) says he's never seen me take so long to read a book. Not true! I'm sure there are exceptions!
But the truth of the matter is that I read pretty quickly. And I'm a merciless reader. When I don't like a book, I usually stop reading (what's that great quote from Ratatouille? "I don't like food, I love it. If I don't love it, I don't swallow"). And, to be honest, I don't much care for NORTHERN LIGHTS. But on re-reading Pullman for my course, I planned to approach the book with a less-critical mindset and to appreciate the good bits of it.
So here is my attempt to be positive. Pullman has some beautiful descriptions. In fact, I love his setting all together, and it's the thing that first attracted me to the book: warrior polar bears, the northern lights. I also intend to write out his entire plot because I was amazed at the mastery of weaving such a complete world and such a complicated story line together. And of course, the book is non-stop action, and could be quite a page turner.
Is that why this book is so loved? I would love to know what others think of it, how it affected you, and what other good, writerly things I can pull from it.
It also led me to thinking about why I love certain books and not others. I wonder if for all the page-turning of Pullman's book I do better with character-driven stories. But then, while I love CORALINE, I don't think the main character is the strongest part of that book. I did adore the setting of CORALINE... but then, I adored the setting of NORTHERN LIGHTS, too. And it's not message because, truth be told, Pullman annoyed me long before I reached even the midway point of NORTHERN LIGHTS. I know I'm not a stickler for poor writing when the story grabs me. I mean, I LOVE Theodore Dreiser. Maybe it has to do more with sympathy? Maybe a character has to really grab my heart...? I'm not sure. Must think more on this.
But please tell me what you think!