Just a few notes …

Just a few notes on some things before I doze off … I’ve just come back from a day in New York City with Emily and other friends; I will certainly tell you more about it soon.

  • I finished listening to Tobias Wolff’s Old School on audiobook, and I liked it all the way through (I posted on the first half here). It was a little like a male version of Prep, but a lot shorter and more elegant, and much more about books and writing. The novel’s ending went off in a direction I didn’t expect, which, of course, I won’t talk about in detail here, but I did like it. I must read more Wolff; I’ve read This Boy’s Life already and enjoyed it a lot.
  • Speaking of Emily, she was kind enough to get me a copy of Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz as a birthday present (thus extending my birthday even longer, which is always fun). She gave it to the Hobgoblin when they met with their writing group with instructions to bring it home to me — don’t you all wish you had Emily living so close by to you? I’m thinking I’ll read it this year as part of the Reading Across Borders challenge.
  • I’m about halfway through The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud and so far so good. I do like reading novels set in New York City. I’ve spend a decent amount of time there, enough to get to know parts of it and to get a feel for the culture (or some of the cultures, I should say), and it’s a pleasure to recognize things. Messud’s characters strike me as quite realistic NYC types I’ve known or known of.
  • From Boswell, here’s a Samuel Johnson quotation: “Idleness is a disease which must be combated; but I would not advise a rigid adherence to a particular plan of study.  I myself have never persisted in any plan for two days together.  A man ought to read just as inclination leads him; for what he reads as a task will do him little good.  A young man should read five hours in a day, and so may acquire a great deal of knowledge.”  (You can look forward to months of posts with Johnson quotations … I think it’s fair to warn you.)

More later!


Filed under Books

8 responses to “Just a few notes …

  1. Brandon

    I like the Samuel Johnson quotation.


  2. Cam

    Love the Johnson quote. I certainly agree with him about reading as you are inclined (reclined works well too!) and not according to a rigid plan. Idleness, however, is something that I do like to indulge in at times!


  3. I also enjoyed ‘Old School’. I’ve been meaning to read ‘This Boy’s Life’ for a while- glad you reminded me about it!


  4. I wish I had a Dorothy and an Emily living near me! Come on, let’s all move to Michigan – various universities, the Great Lakes, you could live on (in?) a Peninsula…our very own militia and pasties – your meat and potatoes BAKED IN A PIE CRUST. What does New York really have? 🙂


  5. I’d like a Dorothy and Emily living near me too! Won’t you please arrange it? We only get to -11 like today about a week out of the year and it is very character building as well as a great excuse to stay in and read all day 🙂

    Love the Johnson quote. Not sure I could read five hours a day every day, but I’d sure like to try it and see.


  6. I think a young woman should also read five hours a day. I am also all for reading as being inclined, as you probably know. I have the Wolff book–glad to hear it was good. I have heard mixed things about Messud, so am looking forward to seeing what you think.


  7. I’m really glad you liked Old School. I loved it myself, and found that twist in the ending very pleasurably unexpected. Like Danielle I’ve heard mixed reviews of the Massud, so will await yours with pleasure.


  8. Glad you liked the quotation Brandon and Cam — I have tons more where that one came from! I’m really enjoying reading the biography. Jess — I think you will like This Boy’s Life when you get there. Courtney — you make Michigan sound so tempting! 🙂 Stefanie, -11?? Yikes! Actually, I don’t think I could handle five hours a day every day either, although the idea is nice. Danielle, yes, let’s make sure to include women too! I will certainly let you know how I like the Messud when I’m finished, and you too Litlove. The ending twist works so well, and I like the way all the themes come together.


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