Thursday, June 26, 2008

Checking in

I've been tired. . . busy. . . just a brief reading update.

I finished reading Time Regained the other day, thus coming to the end of In Search of Lost Time. What can I say? I won't get into too much just now, though it's funny: people--friends, co-workers--congratulate me on having finished it. Like it's an accomplishment. To be fair, I tell these people I've finished it. And I had, over the last several months, reported on my progress. Why? Is it simply a pointless boast? I'd like to think not! (Is it substantially different from blogging?) People are curious. They like to talk about what they read, too, and they've heard of Proust, see me with whichever volume I'm reading, want to know something about it. But what can I tell them? I like it? Will anything I say convey anything of interest about the book? Maybe. And, yeah, it's long. But, the thing is, Proust isn't difficult to read, not really, not in the manner of some writers. Blah blah blah. . . Anyway, it feels weird now, not having Proust to read. Granted, I wasn't reading the book exclusively--and there was quite a big gap of time between volumes 4 & 5--but there was always it to return to. I could just read it again, of course, but I'm not going to, not right now. I mentioned earlier that it felt wrong to read any other fiction while in the midst of In Search of Lost Time, and I meant it. Then I was having trouble getting started on The Captive (mostly because I was so often exhausted and having a hard time focusing on Proust's rhythm through the fog). Several passes at the opening got me nowhere, hence the big gap. But I felt the need for some narrative. I pulled books down from our shelves, looking for something worth breaking my self-imposed rule. Finally, Molloy was just the ticket to get me moving again. More on that experience, and the experience of reading Beckett's prose trilogy, in another post.

I made some noise about reading Blanchot's The Space of Literature. Naturally, since then I haven't made it much further into it. However, on recommendations from Mark and Steve, I picked up a copy of Heidegger's Poetry, Language, Thought and am, unexpectedly, finding it much easier going than Blanchot. Which is not to say it's an easy read. Far from it. But there's a lot to chew on, and I know I'll be having something to say about it here. (And, yes, I will be returning to my Blanchot reading and notes.)

Months ago, I packed up a lot of my books into storage in anticipation of the arrival of the baby, and more of them will be going into storage soon. I made a small pile of books that I thought were most likely to be read over the next several months. From this pile, I've begun reading Enrique Vila-Matas' Bartleby & Co. How many of us are bloggers of the No? (Not enough of us?) It turns out that this is the perfect time for me to be reading this book. I hope to be able to explore some of my thinking on it here. Time permitting. On the fiction reading horizon: Vila-Matas' Montano's Malady, of course, but then some women. I've noticed that every book I've read this year, fiction or not, was written by a man. Now, in fiction, with Proust and Beckett as my major projects for the year, that's understandable, but still. Anyway: perhaps some Virginia Woolf? I have not read Orlando (acquired years ago, after I read an enthusiastic passage or two on the novel by William H. Gass) or To the Lighthouse, both of which we have on hand, plus a re-read of Mrs. Dalloway may be in order. I expect I'll be reading a fair amount of Marguerite Duras, with six titles awaiting me. And Carole Maso. I've always liked Carole Maso, and it could finally be time for AVA.

But then, maybe I'll just scrap it all and read Capital along with David Harvey. . . if the introductory video is any indication, it's really worth it (link originally via From Despair to Where?, but also via ReadySteadyBlog... ). Which of course reminds me of all the political posts I haven't written (apparently there's some election campaign on), all the food- and oil- and war- and housing- and money-related articles I've meant to link to and write about, but haven't. . . (summary: things are mess)


Anonymous said...

Richard, I was just talking this week with friends about Proust and Joyce. We all admitted to reading about Proust, beginning Proust, thinking about reading Proust, but none of us had finished Proust. Woolf, on the other hand, I have read. :) I'm in the midst of To the Lighthouse right now actually, and it's proof to me that Woolf was one of the great prose stylists of her age; I find the language in that book to be even more fluid and absorbing than that in Mrs. Dalloway or other works (and, interestingly enough, I recently picked up Mrs. Dalloway to re-read it as well ... it's been about 16 years at least since I last read it). I have not, however, read Orlando, but that's on my list, hopefully for this summer.

Rhys Tranter said...


I *love* this blog. Fantastic stuff. Keep up the good work :)