Yes, yes, it's another book related post. Well, I didn't wind up with a career in the field of English (videogame focus notwithstanding) by reading tea leaves, after all.
At any rate, I keep a large portion of my personal library in my university office. The reason for this dates back to my bouts of house-moving last year. Knowing firsthand that transporting books en masse is a huge hassle, I slowly brought all my books, a half dozen or dozen at a time, from my apartment to my office. So instead of going through a single large imposition, I have dragged it out over weeks. And since most are still in my office, it's been dragged out indefinitely. The point is, my half of the office is a miniature library, albeit a very eclectic and scattered one. The story of the moment begins when my office mate recently remarked to me that a student who came to the office for an appointment didn't believe that I'd read the books on that shelf. Well, to that student I would like to make a reply:
You've got some attitude, mister.
The unmet student is also, sadly, largely correct. While I have done my best, large parcels of my personal paper possessions have gone unpenetrated. (I regret embarking on this alliteration.) I examined a single shelf, and came up with fourteen different books that I either failed to finish or haven't even cracked the spine:
John Barth Coming Soon!!!
John Bunyan The Pilgrim's Progress
Italo Calvino Mr. Palomar
John Gardner Grendel
Richard Garrett Starship Death
Stephen Hunt The Court of the Air
K. V. Johansen The Storyteller
Samuel Johnson History of Rabelais
Machievelli The Prince
Cormac McCarthy The Road
Karl Marx The Communist Manifesto
John Milton Paradise Lost
V. Sackville West The Land
Tolstoy War & Peace
Granted, that's a lot of books. But, in my defense, it's 14 out 84, which means I've read 5/7, or over 70% of the total--which isn't bad, when you're talking a few thousand pages of reading. And do keep in mind that this 84 is a single shelf--there are four more. Like I said, it's basically it's own library.
At any rate, in the interest of improving the ratio further, I will read one book from this list--whichever book is most often suggested to me in the comments thread for this post. Predicted outcome: not a damn person comments, and I pick one myself.
But I'd have tried, so I'd feel better.
And by God, if it takes me hundreds, even thousands of hours, it'll all be worth it, just so I can show that undergraduate student I'll meet what I'm made of.
How the hell have you not read Pilgrim's Progress? Get to work!
Definitely _The Road_, if not for the creepiness factor, at least for McCarthy's beautiful prose.
If you read The Road, I hope you're ready to be enraged by a lack of punctuation. I stopped reading because it was pissing me off so much. I understand it's considered a really good book, but as an editor I just can't deal with something like that.
Weren't you ever involved in one of the horrible Paradise Lost readathons at the U of S? How did you manage to escape those?
I vote against The Road due to my dislike of post-apocalyptic lit, and of the post-apocalypse in general.
I vote for The Communist Manifesto due to its being written in the 19th Century, and my like of Communists in general.
But perhaps voting is already closed.
Well, I could read both, I suppose. And toss in Paradise Lost for "fun" afterward. To be honest, I always wanted to go to one of the Paradise Lost readings--just to see all those professors read Satan's part.
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