After a respectable 2 weeks, I finished Gone with the Wind, and as I suspected, it was better reading it now of my own free will than it was reading it under force as a 15-year-old.
I say "respectable" in terms of time because I feel I managed to pace myself quite well with this book. I think long books tame my brain into a steady endurance pace, which is difficult to do, as I am apt to devour books in large mouthfuls. It is not as though I skim books and just take in their surface. When I read I do consume the depths and flood my imagination with the details...it just happens in large gulps. I lift words up whole sentences at a time, not necessarily in the order presented, and reassemble them the proper way in my brain to create the story. It is fantastic! It is also why I can't read anything without seeing it all at once. This makes those little news ticker feeds at the bottom of the TV screen literally impossible to read.
But enough about at. First, commentary on the book: Scarlett is still as unlikable as ever, but believable. So one doesn't feel sympathy so much as recognition of at least one personal flaw buried in such a flawed character, and that's what causes pain. It's kind of like how she goes through the whole book wanting Melanie to die, and when it finally happens, her realization of how important people were to her is sudden and drastic and painful. Thus, you go through the whole book wanting Scarlett to get hurt, because she's such a bitch, but when she finally loses everything, you notice a piece of yourself somewhere in there and feel pain.
Oh, did I just spoil the book for some people? Oh... IT'S FREAKIN GONE WITH THE WIND. Come on.
Anyway, now I need another great big massive long story of a book to read. And drat it if I can't find my unabridged copy of The Stand!. Suggestions welcome.
Edit: I also can't find my copy of Harpo Speaks! This is distressing, as it is one of my favorite books.