Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Printed pages, or... There's nothing good on TV anymore...

Subject: Literature
As I suspected, I continued to read The Idiot all the way through to its, uh, gripping conclusion, inbetween shifts co-captaining the 44-foot English narrowboat from Macedon NY to Medina, and back to Spencerport. A fascinating and relaxing trip. My collection of pictures is very, very tiny despite the fact that I bought an expensive new camera; in fact, my friends were the ones who took most of the pictures when their memory cards ran low. (link pending once I find a place to upload)

Anyway, about The Idiot; I came up with a way to describe it: It's like a madcap comedy, but instead of "madcap" and "comedy", use the words "cruel" and "tragedy". Of course, there's been over 100 years of modern literature since this was written and a lot the themes, devices and other narrative elements have been re-used, re-hashed, or otherwise regurgitated such that it seems like nothing particularly shocking or new occured. I still needed to hang in there and read it through to find out what happened, which means that despite it all, it wasn't boring. It will be a while, though, before I pick it up for a re-read in order to pick at the deeper layers and try to see what I can deconstruct from it.

And needless to say, I identified a little too closely with the protagonist.

When I got back from the trip, I had one more day off before returning to the flourescently-lit prison of my office, and I spent it reading the one I probably should have been reading on the water, The Shadow of The Wind [ review]. This one was supposedly all the rage in Spain, and I found it quite enjoyable. It's literate and imaginative, but it's still light enough (at least, after a Dostoevsky novel) that I read it through the end before I went to sleep that night. Admittedly it was a very long day of just reading that book, but it captured me enough that I could do it. I had read Jennifer Government in a day, once, but that's because there was a power failure in the middle of winter and I needed to get it back to the friend who loaned it to me, and not because I particularly got dragged into it. That one was a bit too light.

Since then, I've started back into the heavier stuff, and am about half-way through Hemingway's Islands in the Stream. I guess I can't stay away from that tragedy and angst, can I? I've got a John Irving and an Umberto Eco novel lined up to follow, which will hopefully get me through July.

Of course, before I started in on Hemingway, I snuck in Marathon #7 over the weekend. I swear, I'm going to have to loan that box set out to someone to get it out of the house for a while! I haven't cracked open any of my other new DVDs, and can't sit still to watch much of anything else. Except the season-finales of the Sopranos and Deadwood. Now that they're over, and the sun sets so late, there's not much reason to even fire up the set for a while. Except to watch Noir. Over and over.

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