I try read widely and schizophrenically, and I like to think that I have done a good job of reading without explicit prejudice in the author/subject matter/etiology/politics/time period/(insert trait). It turns out, that’s not true. I read novels written by various kinds of white guys, in English usually, sometimes originally French or Russian, that are usually about what it’s like to be various kinds of white guys writing a novel (with different degrees of obfuscation — maybe instead of ‘writing a novel’ i might say ‘not committing suicide’). What has been learned, thus far in the year 2006 “read 104 books for fun and profit” is that there are too many ideas and not enough people actually paying attention to the ideas. politics are still dumb, because people who care too much about politics, for the most part, are some kind of deviant. i had grandiose plans for this post, turning it into a hagen-style exordium. instead we are going to make a personal budget in excel and then go get on the six bus and try to read charles dickens (i have no agenda with dickens, i just wanted to check out his late career slide into either cynicism or anomie or whathaveyou)
just for kicks, the running list of books:
The Postmodern Condition, David Harvey
The Last Shot, Darcy Frey
Consider the Lobster, DFW (really i read this book piecemeal as it appeared in mags)
A Question of Upbringing, Anthony Powell
Buyer’s Market, Anthony Powell
American Studies, Louis Menand
Elizabeth Costello, JM Coetzee
The End of the Road, John Barth
The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
that’s nine books thus far this year, with some fudging (counting subbooks of Dance to the Music of Time as Separate books, but i did finish them), which means i am just about on pace, but still, i don’t think i’m going to make it, unless i start reading detective novels to pad out the totals.
incidentally, i was wrong about ernest hemingway. The Sun Also Rises is in fact a good book (badly written, though, do not fight me i am a bear). that said, i could only determine it was a book by researching what hemingway later on, extra-textually, confirmed as an important plot point (that is not explicitly, or really even implicitly, clarified anywhere in the *actual work of literature to which it is extremely relevant*, [is there such a thing as implicit clarification – i dunno]). that’s a weird and dumb thing to do ernest, why don’t you go measure your genitalia somewhere, oh wait, you shot yourself because of chronic back pain and alcoholism still, ernest hemingway, a good writer, i relent. the world can now resume spinning on its axis, we’re all going to be OK.
RIP Carlos Martinez. You hit a home run that went off Jose Canseco’s head at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in 1992, i believe was the year. maybe 1990. who knows.