Sunday, June 8, 2008

Update on pleasure reading

I've found the secret to getting more pleasure reading done: completely avoiding work. Well, that and Miss Goddess taking the kids to a friend's house for several hours on Friday. Turns out I still can lie on the couch for hours at a time reading a book. I finished Foucault's Pendulum this morning, with very much the same feeling I predicted would accompany that feat: a sense of accomplishment, but not a sense of being fundamentally affected by the experience. Don't get me wrong; it's a good book, and I have no doubt that some readers are engulfed by it the way I am by other books. It just didn't do much for me, specifically. Still, 641 pages is worth something, right?

I'm now eagerly awaiting my next novel, the one I've chosen to take with me on a brief vacation we're taking with Miss Goddess's family in a few days. I've chosen The Solitudes, by John Crowley, whom I consider to be one of the great overlooked American writers of the past few decades. I actually read this novel fifteen or so years ago, but didn't really get into it. I'm hoping that the intervening years (and the fact that the main character is a professional academic) will have rendered it more to my tastes. I'll let you know.


Flavia said...

Ooh, way to go with the leisure reading! And since we're sharing, I myself am close to finishing Straight Man (which I can't believe I hadn't read before).

I actually took a fiction writing class from Crowley, way back when, but have never read anything by him. You may have inspired me to add him to my list.

Prof. de Breeze said...

Flavia: Wow! I am so totally envious that you've actually worked with John Crowley, who is one of those writers I would love to meet except that I know I would turn into a tongue-tied adolescent in his presence. You really should read Little, Big, at least. It's a beautiful and powerful work (as long as you can get past the fairies).

And congratulations on finishing (very soon) Straight Man, which is one of my feel-good books. I've made at least five other people read it so far, and I invoke it like the I Ching in faculty meetings. My favorite line in the novel: "There are lots of dull teachers. You can't make them all deans."

Flavia said...

Yeah, fairies are hard for me. But I will endeavor!

Crowley was a great guy--an unusually dedicated, thoughtful workshop leader--and I have warm feelings for him and his particular course (if not, generally, for the phenomenon that is the undergraduate creative writing course).

Speaking of which, just finished Straight Man and feel that I need, immediately, to read it again.