the novel 'gilead' by marilynne robinson has been on my reading list for a long time. the themes, the form, the style, the acclaim - all that i read about it was telling me it would be a relish to read. i am currently nearing the end of the novel, and all that's been said about it is true. however, i am failing to connect with it, and i do not see it coming before i finish the remaining pages. i could not for the whole world put a finger on what it is that is making it wriggle away from my attention and emotional experience. it must be some indefinable 'key' it's written in that is just wrong for me. so, it's not about the book, it's about me.
'gilead' is not the only thing valuable in itself that i do not manage to appreciate properly. there are so, so many more. my own country (or more precisely one of my own countries) is another field whose narrative i greatly fail to follow. not being arrogant, or indifferent, or overly contrary, ever since i was six, the age i was when i came to live in montenegro, it seems to have lived a life different from my own, with hardly any overlaps. again, it's me, not the country, even though it does deserve some criticism. but that is not the point.
another 'out of comfort' zone for me is classical music. it has skipped me most of my life. however, i recently read 'musicophilia' by oliver sacks, and, influenced by this great author, pushed myself to try to get into classical music a little more. i even googled 'how to listen to classical music'. the result has amazed me. after listening a dozen times to rachmaninoff's piano concerto 1, now i get goosebumps when i play it. and so much more awaiting to be discovered.
i don't think i would love 'gilead' if i reread it (even though i have not yet tried), and i don't think i could smoothly swim in the montenegrin streams (even though i tried a million times). some zones just remain out of comfort for the most part. others, however, eventually open up. they should relentlessly be sought all the time, while other nuts harder to crack we should probably not force upon ourselves too hard. it's just like houses of different styles, or savory dishes, or colours - some are perfect for us, some are much more enjoyed by others.