First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.
Raymond Chandler created the fast-talking, trouble-seeking Californian private eye Philip Marlowe for his first great novel The Big Sleep in 1939. Marlowe’s entanglement with the Sternwood family – and an attendant cast of colourful figures – is the background to a story reflecting all the tarnished glitter of the great American Dream.
Another work week has come to an end and with it, the weekend is waving. May we all spend the weekend unwinding and relaxing, letting go of all the stresses of the past week. There has been a steady decline of COVID19 cases in the Philippines over the past few weeks. This is a good sign and I hope that the numbers will go even lower, especially as everyone is gearing up for the holiday season. While the newest variant of the COVID19, Omicron, threatens to reset the signs of progress achieved in the past weeks, I am nevertheless hopeful that this new variant will be contained. If there is one wish I badly want to be granted this Christmas, it is for this pandemic to end soon. Two years of uncertainties and casualties are enough. I hope that you are all doing well, physically, emotionally, and mentally, despite these challenging times. I hope you are all safe and with the year slowly drawing to a close, I pray that you receive nothing but blessings, miracles, and good news.
With the last day of the week comes a new First Impression Friday update. In terms of been reading, I have been focusing on reading books in my active reading list. Thankfully, over the past week, I managed to complete two of these challenges: 2021 Top 21 Reading List, and 2021 Goodreads Reading Challenge. I have now turned my focus on another active reading challenge. The goal of the Beat the Backlist Challenge is to tick off books from one’s reading backlist. As I am more of a backlist rather than a “new” reader, I have signed up for the challenge the past two years, with a success rate of 50%. With only four books remaining from my challenge, I am hoping to improve on this statistic this year. One of the four remaining books in my 2021 Beat the Backlist Reading Challenge is my current read, Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep.
It was in 2018 when I purchased my copy of the Chandler book; back then, Chandler barely rang any bell of familiarity. I would, later on, learn that The Big Sleep, along with some of his works, were regarded as must-reads and were even listed as part of the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die List. This made me look forward to the book but learning that it was a work of mystery fiction further piqued my interest in the book. It also happens to be the British-American writer’s debut novel. The Big Sleep introduces to the readers Philip Marlowe, a sleuth who was commissioned by General Sternwood to perform some private investigations for him.
There are several layers of mystery to the novel. The first mystery involves the task that Marlowe was asked by the General to perform. His task was to keep the lid on a blackmailing attempt made by a bookseller named Arthur Geiger on the General’s younger daughter, Carmen. However, nearly everyone around him was believed that he was commissioned by the Sternwood patriarch to track Rusty Regan. Regan was the husband of the older Sternwood daughter, Vivian, who recently disappeared. The Regan’s marriage was loveless. One of the things I have noticed was the novel’s quick pace. In a span of two days, a lot has already happened but, at the same time, nothing of significant nature has taken place.
Or maybe I am reading the story wrong? The novel’s quick pace does seem to obscure something deeper, perhaps even more sinister. Despite the murders and deaths that abounded in the story, the novel, at this point, still feels like an ordinary mystery story although the characters have been spinning several webs, with Marlowe at its center. Rereading the synopsis, the part of the story “reflecting all the tarnished glitter of the great American Dream” still hasn’t become clear. This is just one of the things I am looking forward to in the second half of the novel for I am already midway through the story.
I hope to complete the book over the weekend. I hope I manage to gather enough momentum. How about you fellow reader? What book do you have on your hand right now? How are you enjoying it so far? I hope you could share it in the comment box. For now, have a great weekend ahead! And as always, happy reading!