Monday, July 30, 2012

(Regular) Book Posting

The Loser Generation posts were fun, and I hope interesting.

They were so involved, though, that I've sort of forgot what I used to write about. Browsing back I discovered music reviews, movies reviews, various pop culture lists. It all seems to pale, really, even if I ended the Loser Generation series with a silly line from an old Donald Duck wartime cartoon.

One thing I found amusing is how infrequently I mention books on this blog, given what a role they play in my life. Most recently I stated that there were many 20th century classics I needed to get a handle on. That was in mid-November of last year, so it's been about nine months. Teaser Tuesdays have perhaps given a glimpse, but here's what I've gotten through since then (just from that list):

The Good Soldier, Ford Maddox Ford
Portnoy's Complaint, Philip Roth
The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon
Under the Net, Iris Murdoch
The Postman Always Rings Twice, James Cain
The Sheltering Sky, Paul Bowles
The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler
A Passage to India, E.M. Forester
Death Comes to the Archbishop, Willa Cather
Main Street, Sinclair Lewis
Catch 22, Joseph Heller
Naked Lunch, William Burroughs
Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh

13 books. Not bad, although many were quite short. Still short of a third of the total. When the new school year starts my time will also be more strained, so this may be the best spate of reading for a while. Those other books I read in that time, to help excuse the meager baker's dozen above, were:

Exposition of a New Theory on the Measurement of Risk, Daniel Bernoulli
Une Semaine de Bonte, Max Ernst
Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Joan Didion
Right Ho, Jeeves and The Code of the Woosters, P.G. Wodehouse
The first nine volumes of Transmetropolitan, Warren Ellis
Scott Pilgrim, Bryan Lee O'Malley
Y: The Last Man, Brian K. Vaughn
French Provincial Cooking, Elizabeth David
Understanding Physics, Isaac Asimov
The Infinity of Lists, Umberto Eco
Beyond Outrage, Robert Reich
Six Characters in Search of an Author, Luigi Pirandello
The Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Dario Fo
Black Hole, Charles Burns
Six Easy Pieces, Richard Feynman
The Immoralist, Andre Gide
Ed the Happy Clown, Chester Brown
Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
Alice in Sunderland, Bryan Talbot
On the Natural Faculties, Galen

As well as a few short writings by John Maynard Keynes and Susan Sontag.

Just making excuses? You bet. Three (Gide, Fo, and Pirandello) are part of another challenge to read more Nobel Prize winners. (Sinclair Lewis was a twofer.) It's also sort of cheap since two are plays and seven are graphic novels, if you include the Ernst.

But that's where I am. Currently I'm reading Hwang's translation of the I Ching, Years of Protest: a collection of American writings of the 1930s, and Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad. No science or math at the moment, having just completed Galen Sunday, but the next will likely be polishing off Sussman's Structure and Interpretation of Computer Systems.

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