Posts Tagged ‘musings’
A few years ago I took a Valuing Modern Fiction course. Now while the course work and lectures were of a quality and standard that I did not appreciate, the one thing the course did provide me with was an exposure to some wonderful contemporary authors. The selection of the books reflected the various awards that had been given out that year in the industry: [ Pullitzer, Man Booker Prize for Fiction, Giller, CBC Canada Reads, Hugo Award, National Book Award, etc ]. The following books were selected:
- A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toewes
- Small Island by Andrea Levy
- Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
- Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
- The Known World by Edward P. Jones
- Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold
A nice selection of books, some I enjoyed more than others, but the reason I am writing this post is that I’m now kicking myself in the ass for not having read one book in particular. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. She has made quite a name for herself, notably with her most recent publication: Home. Home is a sequel to Gilead which was just awarded the Orange Prize for fiction. It has also been featured as a book that President Obama recently read which has drawn some attention to the work as well.
Gileas is a story about a small, dusty prairie town in 1956, written in the form of a letter from a 75-year-old preacher to his six-year-old son.
I remember enjoying the writing and the premise but I did not finish the book in the time that we were given, what with other English course loads, and life distractions. The sequel Home takes place concurrently in the same locale, this time in the household of Reverend Robert Boughton, Ames’s closest friend. Apparently the books are independent and can be read as stand-alones on their own, but I hate knowing that there is another book that preceded this one as I feel I would be missing out on certain insights and conclusions drawn from the prior book by jumping into this one. Do I go back and re-read half of a book that was enjoyable so that I can read this book which is drawing so much buzz?
Lesson of the Day: Finish your assigned readings, so you don’t get annoyed the way I am with this issue.
Every once in awhile you stumble upon an image or scene in a novel that makes you smile. The passage below has kept me smiling all morning. Enjoy.
Feel free to share a passage from something you’re reading right now or have read in the past that has affected you in a similar way. Cheers.
As Calvin Tomkins writes: As a wedding present for his siter Suzanne and his close friend Jean Crotti, who were married in Paris on April 14, 1919, Duchamp instructed the couple by letter to hang a geometry book by strings on the balcony of their apartment so that the wind could “go through the book, choose its own problems, turn and tear out the pages.”
As Duchamp later told Cabanne, “It amused me to bring the idea of happy and unhappy into readymades, and then the rain, the wind, the pages flying, it was an amusing idea.”
According to Tompkins: Duchamp told one interviewer in later years that he had liked disparaging “the seriousness of a book full of principles,” and suggested to another that, in its exposure to the weather, “the treatise seriously got the facts of life.” – 2666 – Part II: The Part about Amalfitano – Pg. 191 – Roberto Bolano –
Reading Franz Kafka is simliar to treading upon the edge of a knife blade. There is no room for dullness, one must be sharp and careful, or one is apt to be cut in two. Kafka would appreciate this image though.