Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Resolution Update #1.

So the New Year's resolution for 2012 is to read 100 pages a day, no excuses. It's my usual minimum pace, but as with all resolutions, this is a bulwark against those days when you let the commitment slide and one day off leads to another and another, until finally you slap yourself back into compliance.

So far, so good. I haven't missed a day. Through New Year's Day, a wretched day of air travel, two medical appointments, and a now three-day cold, I have been reading. I've consumed:

Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion? by Johan Harstad. I didn't just enjoy this book due to my unhealthy interest in the Faroe Islands, but that didn't hurt. What really worked here was the main character, someone who is fleeing from life in ways subtle and rarely seen. Someone who rejects happiness until others have it first, someone last in line for life until it grabs him. Plus, as I said, Faroes!

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward. I was on page two when I looked to see from which august institution the author received her MFA. Sure enough. MFA programs leave sticky fingers upon much of the prose that emerges. Where an ambitious writer might say something like "the winter trees stood like bones," the MFA-holder might just add "washed from a forgotten cemetery by a November storm." Just that bit of oversell that fills me with ennui...

Pigeon Feathers by John Updike. A gorgeous collection of stories that coalesce into a whole. The story of a life that is many lives. Updike is a master craftsman, with a unique gift for the wide view. The arms-flung-wide take on life, on time, on family. Gorgeous and recommended.

Finished in 2012, begun in 2011:

Examined Lives by James Miller. Nonfiction, a collection of the life stories of philosophers. For some reason I found the impenetrable Kant most interesting. I hope there is another volume forthcoming, with Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Spinoza, and the reprehensible Heidegger.

Knocking on Heaven's Door by Lisa Randall. All the latest on the creation of and goings-on at the Large Hadron Collider. I am now both better informed and more eager for news from the LHC. Eminently readable, and delivers so much information it's like five books for the price of one.

More to come, as I am two days from finishing a 700+ page book that is one of the best I've ever read...

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