Now #reading … (experiencing?)

Silent History

This is not just a book — audio and pictures as well. I have only just downloaded it, so am still exploring.

It is a medical thriller / science fiction story that takes place thirty or so years in the future, and documents a growing number of young children who are born starting around 2011 and grow up never speaking.

Looks good so far.

Image

WE ARE WHAT WE WALK BETWEEN

Yes, I am reading it again: Infinite Jest. There are so many people and things in it that the sheer density of stuff has enough mass to affect my intellectual gravity field.

There are also so many favorite quotes that I’m planning on wearing out one whole yellow pencil by the time that I reach the end of the book.

#ReadingNow: #1Q84 by Haruki #Murakami

Currently vying for space in front of my eyes is 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. I hope, before I finish it, to know how to pronounce the title properly. I wish I knew Japanese…

1Q84

Image by 铁蛋骑士 via Flickr

Moments after the butterfly left, Murakami came down the stairs and sat, quietly, at his dining-room table. I told him I had just seen the weirdest butterfly I had ever seen in my entire life. He took a drink from his plastic water bottle, then looked up at me. “There are many butterflies in Japan,” he said. “It is not strange to see a butterfly.”

via The Fierce Imagination of Haruki Murakami – NYTimes.com.

A lull in reading

Imperial portrait of Roman emperor (41–54 AD) ...

Image via Wikipedia

But not too big of a lull.

Last night, after a marathon not-quite-all-day bout of reading, I finished Robert GravesI, Claudius. Not only did the action and characters in the book carry me along quite effortlessly, I was also refreshed by reading about a political climate that is even more poisonous (literally) than ours today — the one that existed two thousand years ago in Rome. Therefore, our political climate is not, in fact, devolving into some kind of sub-civilized mosh pit, but is quite a normal one, judging by every single other society we know of since recorded history began. I suppose that this is all a great relief to me; we have been like this before, and survived it.

I am turning now to a re-reading of A. S. Byatt‘s The Children’s Book both because I want to re-read it and because the second volume of Graves’ Claudius books won’t get here from Amazon.com until Tuesday.

The tea in the morning

It seems that, regardless of how late you stayed up to read books and type ad nauseam in your little electronic journal, morning still arrives at exactly the time specified by those who study and work in celestial mechanics. I picture all those who study celestial mechanics (a type of mathematician that studies how planets and stars and comets go around and around and around and…) to be dressed in their own special coveralls, first names embroidered on patches above their hearts, and sprinkled with stardust. Or comet-dust or dark matter, if you have no overly-romantic bent.

Now there I go again… what did I mean to say? Good morning! I am off to enjoy my tea.

ready brewed

Morning tea, just brewing in the Bauhaus glass pot

That Special Book in My Life: Shakespeare

William Shakespeare’s grave

At the moment, I am tackling Shakespeare: all of him. I have gotten a brand-new Complete Works for this particular purpose. This new edition, put out by the Royal Shakespeare Company, is far thicker and heavier than my very old and dusty one from college, even though it is printed on what my son calls “Bible paper.”

I have read at least half of the plays already, back in college. That was a long time ago, longer than I want to admit. The memories of the plays are extremely faded.

My main purpose in this reading is to wean myself off of the canned convenient culture that we live in now. I have come to rely on the quick slogan, the news clip, the punch line, the condensed and busy version of reality that I have gotten from this fast television and Internet culture that I live in the midst of.

I want the great words to roll through my head. I want the words that are going to last.

Sure I know what happens at the end of Hamlet. However, the re-reading of that play is not made unappealing by that. I want to enjoy the journey as well as the destination.

Reading, and A Comedy of Errors

[crossposted to Me and Shakespeare]

I finished “A Comedy of Errors” this morning right before I had to hurry off to the dentist’s. It was a fun read — don’t think I managed to read this one when I was in college and supposed to be doing stuff like read Shakespeare. Plot: two sets of identical twins, separated just after birth. Fate brings everyone back to the same town many years later, with many mixups before all is figured out at the end.

I could read things like this for the rest of my life. Considering how thick my new and improved Complete Works is, I might be doing just that. It weighs more than my son’s chihuahua. I have now read the first five plays in the Complete Works, and finding the things I had hoped for from this marathon reading actually happening. To wit:

  • Time spent in pointless reading etc. on the web is slashed.
  • World of Warcraft is absent from my day and from my disk.
  • Great words and sounds are rolling through my mind on a regular basis.
  • Writing anything is easier.

Now this list is making me sound like I am some sort of Pollyanna preacher trying to push Shakespeare as the solution to all one’s personal ills. He is not, nor is the act of reading his works. But this reading of mine is doing something for me, which I am not sure that I can quantify yet. I hope that I can verbalize this a bit better in future posts.