Sunday, February 01, 2009

On Books and Other Miscellany

With all the eulogizing of Updike this week I've been forced to think about the fact that I've only read half of one of his books (Rabbit, Run, assigned reading for a 20th century American lit course) and, quite frankly, decided that was more than enough. How convenient then, that there's a recent post on The Millions about glaring gaps in the reading of the contributors. The most interesting part of that post to me--and, seemingly, to a number of critical commentors--is this:
When it comes to playing readerly "I Never," there are rather a lot of burly man-authors, chiefly twentieth-century man-authors, whose work I've never read. Hemingway (other than the 4 page story "Hills Like White Elephants"), Kerouac (a bit of his poetry; enough of On the Road), Roth, Updike, Kesey, Heller, Burroughs, Cormac McCarthy, Vonnegut, Pynchon, Moody, and Foster Wallace all fall into the category of authors I haven't read. Many of them fall also into the category of authors I have no interest in reading. Perhaps it is that I intuit (or imagine - not having read them, it is hard to say) a masculinist, vaguely misogynist aura that has put me off; Or, as in the cases of Pynchon and Foster Wallace, a virtuousic formal complexity or grandiose heft, that I also associate with the masculine artistic mind. [ . . . ] Well-founded, my prejudices certainly are not, but I do not apologize for them or intend to renounce them.
Well, I've read at least a bit of a bunch of those writers over the years--Roth (The Plot Against America), Vonnegut (Breakfast of Champions), Pynchon (Crying of Lot 49 aka the short one), Kesey (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), Heller (first 70 or so pages of Catch-22), Kerouac (On the Road)--and I can't say grouping them together makes a whole lot of sense to me. But despite that, I tend to think, good for her. If reading something doesn't give you pleasure on some level, why bother? If the idea of reading a book doesn't particularly interest you why pick it up when there are so many other good books that do interest you? 

Personally, I tend to at least try to read everything and then just give up part way through if I'm disinterested. Which is usually pretty quickly. I never even made it to the crime in Crime and Punishment. And I recently told my cousin I would read A Confederacy of Dunces but I've stalled out a couple chapters in and really might as well return it to the library. It might actually serve me better to just skip these books I don't have much interest in reading in the first place and am only looking at because of some misguided idea that I should read them. Food for thought. 

Various notes:
According to the New York Times there's going to be a new advertising campaign aimed at getting locals to go to more Broadway shows. My suggestion? Find a way to lower the ticket prices. Significantly. I don't know how they should do it--hey, it's not my job to get people to the theater--but they should find a way. Because the prices are just too high. 

I broke a mirror last night. I'm not superstitious, but I was put out since it's my roommate's mirror.  I've never liked it much at all, but I still feel guilty. I've been such a klutz lately. In the last month I've broken two glasses and now this.

Somehow I ended up with plans to go to my grandparents house this evening to watch the Super Bowl with family. I've watched approximately 0 minutes of football this year, but I read Margee's Girls Guide to Choosing Your Super Bowl Team (Part I, Part II) over at SportSquee, so I figure I'm set. Right? 

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