Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Man Without Good Book Listless, Edgy

I need a good book to read.

I always feel out of sorts when I don't have a good book going, and right now I am in between reading gigs. I could feel this coming on as I finished Thirteen Moons. Really loved that one, and experience tells me that it's rare to find a great book to follow a great book. More likely you get a double-bogey after a birdie, which is something else I have experience with. Don't get me started.

Thirteen Moons had everything I like in a novel - historical context, wisdom, a sense of humor, a character I could believe and care about, and just the right amount of sentimentality. (The New York Times review said this one by Frazier is a lot closer to Larry McMurtry than to Cormac McCarthy, which is just fine. Anything that falls on the spectrum between those two guys is going to be a good read for me.) I hated knowing that I would have to finish it. Now what?

I periodically commit myself to the idea that I won't buy another book until I have read every unread book in the house. That usually lasts about a week. This time around, I made a half-hearted attempt to start the most recent translation of Don Quixote. Second time around for me on that one, and no luck. Not in the mood for a masterpiece, I guess. Took a sideways look at A Thousand Splendid Suns but didn't even read the flap. Scoured through the shelves here and there hoping for magic. What was the name of that one about that...thing? The one I heard about from...who? I have a copy of it around here somewhere. Nothing. The Sunday Times book review taunts me.

If you've got any surefire cures for my problem, please correspond. No crime fiction or spy novels need apply - I'm not getting ready to lie on the beach for a week - and no chick lit, Tom Clancy or courtroom thrillers. (You can see the root of my problem now, can't you? Picky, picky, picky.)

Help me before I reach for another magazine...


Henagan said...

Now that we've reached the 21st, I'm on a mission to read the great novels of the 20th century. You probably wouldn't enjoy Edith Wharton, but you might like "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac. I just finished it. Read it aloud to get the full beatnik effect.

Barry Martin said...

Henagan, thanks for your suggestions. You're right that I wouldn't enjoy Edith Wharton. I don't think anyone really can enjoy Edith Wharton, that's a book you only read to pass a class. Why are you punishing yourself?

henagan said...

I am ashamed to admit that I enjoyed "Age of Innocence" more than Kerouac's drug-crazed ramblings. I figured since you enjoyed "The Road" and I didn't, you might enjoy something else that I found devoid of entertainment value.

The older I get, the dumber I feel. I'm making a pathetic effort to smarten myself up a bit before I hit 50 and it's too late.

DodgerScott said...

It's baseball season bro. There's no time for reading...unless it's Plaschke or T.J. Simers in the LA Times. If I have any other time in my day it's all about Craig Ferguson on the Late Late Show. If you haven't started TiVoing'd better do so now. Books, hahahaha, so 19th century.

Barry Martin said...

The crisis has been averted, I picked up "The City of Falling Angels" which is all about Venice, so I am getting some history and my fix of Italian stuff. I'm sure I will enjoy Edith Wharton - perhaps in my next life.