Wednesday, October 12, 2005

books begun but not done

I have begun but not finished these books in the last year. I have not been able to read anything serious lately--I guess I am distracted by the trivial-yet-insistent calls of is-it-done-yet from der Korporation. Literature competes (my theory anyway) for the attention of the same part of the brain that deals with the pissant crises of an info-job. I have zipped through other books meanwhile. Is there a pattern? No. Unless random is a pattern.

  • Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky. I read this in college on the third try, got halfway through it again this spring, and put it down. It lies opaque till you find yourself drawn deep, too deep, into Raskolnikov's famously fevered noggin. Frightening to be so inside a murderer's mind.
  • The Cairo Trilogy, Naguib Mahfouz, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988. Almost finished the first story, put it down.
  • Collapse, Jared Diamond, who wrote Guns, Germs and Steel which took me two years to get through. Mostly done--the Norse in Greenland chapter and one other remain.
  • Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. Only fifty pages in, then stopped. Years ago, read most of One Hundred Years of Solitude, then stopped.
  • The Paradox of Choice--Why More is Less, Barry Schwarz. Pop stuff--you can get the idea from the title. There is too much choice, it is true, and it is exhausting. But maybe I don't need to read a whole book to get the point.
  • A Brand-New Bird, TR Birkhead. About two Germans who created the red canary. Excellent! I made it to about page 70.

Like so many endeavors in my life, begun well then abandoned due to perseverance deficit.

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