Friday, November 30, 2007

In Which I Confess My Illiteracy To You Judgmental People

Things are busy. I am eating cereal, sandwiches, pizza, and takeout. Actually, it's mostly cereal and pizza and whatever food is magically delivered by The Miracle Man.

I actually have much to tell about the new methodology for my dissertation and incredibly BIG news that I am going to try to transfer to a "real" PhD program (well first I must apply and gain admission to the other department) if it only adds one year to my grand plan to be gainfully employed before I qualify for Social Security (but you all will yell at me, won't you), but until then, apropos to a conversation had with TC tonight on many things, a few glaring admissions for this bibliophillic English major, who is seemingly elitist:

  • I have never read Laurence Sterne, although I did watch that Tristram Shandy movie. I recently bought Tristram though, so I will read it, along with A Sentimental Journey.
  • I hate Don DeLillo's writing.
  • I have never read Thomas Pynchon, but know that I should.
  • I have never read James Joyce's longer works, in particular the most difficult of his long works, "Finnegans Wake." I plan to before I die.
  • I have never read Stendhal, or Marie-Henri Beyle. I don't know why.
  • I have never read William Gaddis, and am not convinced that I must.
  • I am not a big fan of "experimental fiction" in general
  • I seriously question the moral character and sanity of any person who claims to only like and/or purports to write "difficult fiction" or defends it too vigorously.
  • I hate Julian Barnes' pretension and self-conscious style, although maybe this has to do with negative association/taint with a former friend I also consider despicably pretentious who loved Julian Barnes.
  • I hate yuppie books by the likes of Benjamin Kunkel, Claire Messud, Bret Easton Ellis and Thom Wolfe.
  • I like "train/beach books" so if you judge me for liking "Shadow of the Wind" or "Captain Alatriste" and other swashbuckling/intriguing stories from Spain, don't sit next to me on the train.

I am somewhat deservedly elitist in that I love the poetry of T.S. Eliot, love Faulkner, have read most of the Russians (and love them), and that length is not the barrier to me reading a book, but rather unnecessarily impenetrable prose or use of some ridiculously pretentious style. Then I just don't think the effort that must be put into the reading is worth it, even if the story is good.

This doesn't completely make sense, because I will read Faulkner, Joyce, Sterne, and Eliot. Maybe I just have a thing against contemporary writers who are just being annoying since the modernist and post-modernist writers that preceded them alreeady did the work of destroying (in more beautiful and then-revoluntary ways) narrative, language, context, and historicality.


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