How is Nabokov not everyone’s favorite author?

Just curious…

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A decorative library

I’ve started reading The Great Gatsby for what may be the first time? I’m unsure. I read an article recently about certain books that everyone claims to have read, but not many really have, and Gatsby was one of them.

I always thought I read it in high-school, and always marked it off as ‘read’ in lists of classics people should read, but thinking about it, I can’t really remember anything about it other than some vague idea of there being a car crash in it. So! I’m reading (listening to) it again, to make doubly sure I can check it off that list.

First impressions are, sadly, not leaving much of an impression. It seems very uninteresting until, (just now) we reach the party at Gatsby’s house (at which there is indeed a car accident…)

Aside from the enigmatic Gatsby, something that happened during the party caught my mind

One drunken character is looking about Gatsby’s library, and is astounded that all the books are real. He pulls one off the shelf to show the narrator, and points out how it is an actual book. “Such attention to realism!” he says. At no point, it seems, does the idea that someone might want books for reading cross his mind. Appearing to be one who reads is all that matters. Even upon finding that the books are real, all he can think is that this is great dedication to being realistic, rather than that anyone might be actually be reading the books.

This reminds me, somehow, of the trend in furniture and decoration to look worn, while being brand new. Desks or end tables or dressers are painted so as to look scuffed and dented and used when they are brand new mass manufactured pieces. People want the appearance of history and use, without actually having to go through all the steps to get there.

And maybe people want the appearance of being well read, by having shelves stocked with all the right titles, without actually ever reading any of them…

Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald

 

Very few books I’ve read can hold so much power in so few words. The ending of this book, in the final paragraphs, performs a tying up of the whole novel that changes the light cast on all the previous pages. The Affirmation had a similar effect in its final page, but this one was, I think, much more powerful.

This novel doesn’t really have a plot, but in the end, you can see the story it is telling.

The title, Rings of Saturn, takes on a new meaning too, once you reach the end. Never in the book does he describe or mention Saturn’s rings, but if you think about what the rings are, you might get an idea of what this book is about.

Very highly recommended for anyone interested in history, interesting facts, and anyone not put off by plot-less storytelling.

Is writing too easy?

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I got this fancy pen from my sister for Christmas, and it’s made me think a bit about writing. Back when this was the most modern tool for creating fiction, writers had to be very careful with what they wrote, had to be at a desk, with ink and paper, and so on, and had to write by hand on paper whole drafts that they presumably would have to rewrite again and again till they were in a nice polish.

Today, I can pop open my document virtually anywhere and type a few sentences in a matter of seconds. But, does this lead to less thoughtful writing?

If you have to painstakingly scrawl out your words by hand, would you think more about them? Make more sure they are worth reading?

Or maybe, you’d care less about fixing them when it takes so much effort to rewrite a page…

 

Plot or not?

I’m losing interest in plot, as a reader. I care less and less about a protagonist and a villain and a mystery and a battle, and more about character and prose and interesting thoughts. Will I ever read genre fiction again? I don’t know…

Also, I sense this is going to rub off on my writing. Though I’ve always been more interested in writing about ideas, and more recently thoughts and feelings, I always have felt I had to contain them within some kind of exciting plot. Turns out, I don’t (unless I want to make a lot of money I guess). And I ‘m going to write what I want to read! Which is not an adventure with fighting and mystery and all that!

Might end up with a smaller fan base, but… so be it…

365 posts

With this post I have gone 1 full year in a row of posting every day.

views

And that, is the result.

I’ve had almost double the number of views this year than I had on my last highest year. And I’ve had more LIKES than I had views last year.

And… I don’t see a reason to stop! Though, I admit after passing the one year mark I don’t feel as much pressure to keep it up, but in reality it hasn’t been that difficult at all… so why not?

I’ve also read more books this year than any in recent history, and written more too… probably, though I haven’t kept close track of that.

All in all, a good year for the written and read word!

Thanks to all who read my words, and I hope to read more of yours, too!

Too many books for patience

I started listening to Remains of the Day by the new winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, Kazuo Ishiguro. After 15 minutes of nothing happening, and multiple restarts cause I zoned out thinking about something else, I gave up and returned it.

I know I have criticized today’s people for having no patience, for wanting explosions on page one, for having no palate for subtlety… but, just because I don’t need something exploding on the first page doesn’t mean I can do without it being intriguing on the first page, or beautiful on the first page.

There are a million books out there, and thousands of best selling, highly rated, amazing ones that everyone should read in their lifetime. And I can’t read all of them. There just isn’t enough time.

No matter how many books I read, there will be life-changing, mind-expanding, soul-brightening novels I will never get to enjoy–never even be aware that I missed out on.

So if something isn’t grabbing me by the heart or mind or soul or throat after the first few pages, then I’m sorry, but I don’t have time to waste on it.