I finished Riverhorse last Sunday, in a final push to the conclusion. Much like Least Heat-Moon’s drive to reach the Pacific, I was determined to finish the book that day. It was nearly an obsession. I enjoyed the book; a nice, fluffy piece of literature. It just wasn’t on the same caliber of Blue Highways. It felt strangely hollow and left me without much empathy for the adventurers across the American waterways. Or perhaps is was the long traverse of the Missouri to its headwaters that wore me out. I just didn’t care by the end of that section.
I took a few days off of reading and watched the television instead. Nothing like a little dose of the godbox suck all discomfort and cognitive thought from my mind. But television is best taken in small doses. By last night I found myself flipping back and forth between one of those half hour commercials for a set of knives and Junkyard Wars. That’s when it struck me, there are better ways to kill some time. I turned off the flickering blue light and picked up a book. Or actually two.
- I just started Harold Bloom’s How To Read And Why, a book that Dianne passed along to me. I didn’t get past the introduction last night, but it looks promising. Snippets of short stories, novels and poetry, along with Bloom’s analysis of the writing style.
- I also started reading The Return of the Native in earnest. I actually downloaded Thomas Hardy’s novel from the Gutenberg Project a couple months ago, and put it on my Psion. I find the Psion makes a convenient e-book reader; I’ve read several books on it now, all downloaded from Gutenberg. I started The Return of the Native several weeks ago, but I haven’t really made the commitment to dive into the novel. That changed last night, when I powered out four chapters before falling asleep. It’s been years since I read anything by Hardy, and I found it much more enjoyable than my last attempt.
So suddenly I am engrossed in two books, along with several month’s worth of magazines that piled up in my absence. I guess my reading docket it full for the foreseeable future. I still want to finish a couple major novels before the end of the year, specifically Les Miserables and Gravity’s Rainbow. This will not be easily accomplished, both are dense works. The bookshelf sags under the weight of both books, but they taunt me. I will conquer them soon.
I was looking over my book lists for the last couple years and I noticed that I usually read a book series every year in December or January. The Alexandria Quartet, the Harry Potter books, and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I guess I need to make a decision about what to read for this year’s series installment. Perhaps The Lord of the Rings, it’s been over ten years since I read those seminal books of my childhood.