A Book Selected from my List of Betterment
A Bookish Observation
The Third Man and Other Stories by Graham Greene
My GoodReads Rating: 3 of 5 stars (“I liked it”)
The Third Man and Other Stories is on my List of Betterment (refer to The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books (and Two Not-So-Great Ones) Saved My Life for an explanation of what sort of books one puts on their List of Betterment – or my blog post written relating to the same subject, some time ago). It is also part of my special collection of the Macmillan Collector’s Library. Why do I rattle on with a couple of things that don’t seem to be important? Well, … this book is part of a list that I struggle with, because my motto is “anything worthwhile is difficult”. The struggle sometimes, is a mental block I have, of any book that is famous and/or a classic. When I read a book on my List of Betterment, I feel like I’ve given myself access to a piece of writing that has held the attention of many readers for a very very long period of time. I want to know why that is so. You may notice I’ve given this book three stars, and that isn’t because it isn’t an excellent book, it is just that those stars on GoodReads mean the following: one star equals “did not like it”; two stars equals “it was OK”; three stars equals “liked it”; four stars equals “really liked it”. So my three stars means I “liked it”. It doesn’t mean it was a three star book in terms of the “canon”, or in terms of a “classic”. I liked the book!
The book is made up of several stories, all good, filled with the unexpected. The famous of all the stories is “The Third Man”, which includes and introduction by the author, Graham Greene, himself; plus a biography. I found both the introduction and the biography helpful.
The stories, all of them, are filled with unexpected surprises. I didn’t know where my reading adventure was going to lead me, and I certainly didn’t know that each story within the book would leave me with the feeling: wow! It may have been a three star “wow”, but I’m so pleased I read this book. Another notch on my belt of betterment.