So I mentioned a while back that I was going to rectify the gap in my experience of more modern American fiction by reading some John Updike. While on vacation I began reading the shorter of the two novels I had picked out, The Witches of Eastwick. In short, I never made it to number two - In the Beauty of the Lilies - I could barely stomach what I was reading. Several hours of my life I won't get back reading a novel in which none of the characters were interesting, much less sympathetic. Definitely not to my tastes in literature at all - sexually insecure witches? - give me a break; at least now I know.
The lesson in all of this? The local library had more than one collection of Updike's short stories . . . always, always start with an author's short stories if you have the choice!