Through a series of comedic errors I was recommended the play Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. I had never heard of it before it was suggested to me, and as I sat down to read it, I knew nothing about it. It was one of the worst books I've ever read.
There seems to be a stereotypical depiction of the post-modern novel/play among those who are anti-academic that is similar to the portrayal of modern art as paintings of penises and eyeballs or performance pieces of a girl having her period on the floor of a glass box. While this is certainly true of a good portion of modern art, it misses the point. The point of minimalist art is to evoke an emotional response in the reader/viewer. I believe this is true of all art, but it is often the only quality of minimalism because, well, there isn't anything else there. For instance, realist paintings can evoke an emotional response, but they can also portray something real as it is or as it ought to be. It is in this sense that modern/minimal art is more subjective than other styles and really does require the cliché of beauty being in the eye of the beholder.
Unlike most visual art, literature also allows for people to read between the lines and interpret what the author was really trying to say. This leads to the world of comparative literature and the finding of meaning where none was intended. Sometimes meaning really is there for the taking, other times something is just so much gibberish that you can see whatever you want if you stare at the tea leaves long enough.
Waiting for Godot is definitely in the category of minimal post-modern literature which has been over analyzed to the point of insanity. Hence, one could argue on one hand that my dislike of the novel is merely my opinion and that the emotional response that others experience is unique to them and therefore their opinion of the play as a masterpiece can be justified. On the other hand, one could argue that I am simply not understanding the deeper, allegorical tone, and that if I took the time to interpret the play fully, then I would see it for the work of genius that it is. I disagree with both of these sentiments, although I think that they are merely begging the question.
I would not recommend this play, it bored me, I found it's underlying theme to be depressing and untrue, and I found it to be an ineffective mechanism for conveying it's message.
I am trying to read more this year, so hopefully I will be writing more about books as I read them. I am not writing book reports or summaries, but mostly just my reactions to them, whether I liked them, whether I would recommend them, and whatever thoughts they raise as I am reading them. This was the first of the year, and it wasn't very good and it was very short so I didn't even really have much extra thought going on. Hopefully these become more interesting over time. More than anything, these posts are a way for me to document what I read.