Tag Archives: fiction

Amo, amas, amat*

10 Jul

*I don’t know why I just thought of that, but I did. It could be some form of McEwan withdrawal. Eek.

Anyway. In light of the loss of On Beauty (not really a loss—i know where it is but don’t have the time to pick it up), I picked up Stendhal’s The Red and the Black. The first two chapters read well, with sharp political and environmental observations. I’m not really in the meat of it yet, but I’m excited because Sorel’s plight was a source of endless discussion in my fall lit theory class.

I’m back at work, even though my eye is still a bit itchy (but no longer contagious, so I can work).

Also, apparently Mayor Bloomberg is planning some sort of media bailout. While this is nice—and sort of self-serving for the man who owns Bloomberg news—I’m a bit worried about a conflict of interest. The money, space, and job opportunities are nice. So nice. And as someone who will face a dwindling job market, I am so grateful. But this sounds a little fishy to me. Should the press be dependent on the mayor’s money? I mean, I can’t see this as leading to the Times or News giving City Hall an easy go. But still, I’m concerned that this can be a slippery slope for governmental reliance. Then again, it’s not like we can be so picky. Just take the money and run, I suppose. (Or take the hot dog and run.)

Also, Espada! And Ravitch! And oh Albany, there are days when you make me wish I’d been born in New Jersey.

Click here for a laugh at Barack Obama’s expense. But Sarkozy is not at all surprising there. Not at all.

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Why we read

7 Jul

I have been interspersing fiction with Reading Like a Writer, a book by Francine Prose (really?). It touts itself as “a guide for people who love books and for those who want to write like them.” I’m about 30 pages short of being done.

Although it is certainly a pleasurable, self-indulgent read (who doesn’t want to read about reading? and excerpts from brilliant novelists?), I’m not sure it is groundbreaking as much as organized (into chapters such as “close reading,” “words,” sentences, paragraphs, narration, character, etc).

Anyway. Not much to say about the specifics of the book itself–aside from its brilliant structure, it relies on well-selected passages, not brilliant insights. Except: it got me thinking along a tangent that can’t really end well, especially since theorists from Plato to Nussbaum have dealt with it in one way or another. Why do we read to begin with? Escapism? To experience different worlds, in a sort of ‘reading rainbow’ that helps us better understand multiculturalism and minimizes descrimination (I’m skeptical about this one, because one can just as easily write descrimination)? Meditation? Philosophizing? Proselytizing? Who knows?

Personally, the question itself rocks a large portion of my existence. I spend a lot of time reading, and am an English major. But I still have difficulty answering it, which, I suppose, speaks to either my wishy-washiness or the multiplicity embedded into the very idea of literature itself (what is literature anyway? ha, I’ll stop myself before going there) . On a basic level, I enjoy it. I derive personal satisfaction from books. This is not a rational, metaphysical, or productive statement. More than that, the things one can learn feels nourishing. A quest to become more worldly, understand the way people think, tough dilemmas, etc, may be achieved by reading a book. But is that really true? Because it’s never some objective medium, always the writer’s take on how people think, how to deal with moral quandaries, etc. But maybe an aggregate of books, studied seamlessly over time, can get at that, more than any individual work.

Who. Knows.

See, that went nowhere for me. What do you think? Why read? After all, it’s bad for rainforests.