I started reading the classic gothic tale “The Woman in White” by Wilkie Collins. The story is always referenced as one of first of its genre and certainly enjoys a special place in literature. I was dismayed, however, to find that I could not drag myself through the long and excruciatingly detailed descriptions, the painfully stiff dialog, and the dragging pace. I am ashamed of and disappointed in myself. Have I become that type of reader? Someone who has to have snappy dialogue or an act of sex or violence on every page, and who cannot read a description which exceeds two lines? Have I indulged in too regular a diet of commercial fiction that I can no longer enjoy the slower pace of a 19th century work? I was a Russian literature major, for goodness sake! I was weened on long, long novels wherein absolutely nothing happened and that was sort of the point. Ultimately, I have not given up entirely on the Woman in White, despite its massive bulk…(I put it aside at about page 50 of its more than 500+ pages.) I haven’t quite given up on myself, either, and promise to get back to some more challenging reading this year (alert: sounds like a new year resolution). In the meantime, I’m indulging in the guilty pleasure of reading Robert Parker’s “Melancholy Baby.” Don’t judge me!