Some thoughts and a meme

  • I think I may be spending too much time on the internet: the tip of my right index finger is sore, and I think it got that way from too much typing and too much use of the touch pad on my laptop. Yeah, and too much time holding on to a pen to grade papers. That last one must be the culprit. I need to cut back on my grading, not on my internet time.
  • I’m now reading Geoff Dyer’s Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered to Do It and I’m enjoying it quite a bit, but I’m also intrigued by his book Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling with D.H. Lawrence, which has been called “the best book about not writing a book about D.H. Lawrence ever written.” I have very little interest in D.H. Lawrence (well, not quite true. I just don’t really get him. I’m wondering if this will change one day, like I need to reach a certain maturity level or something), but I’m interested in a book about the inability to write about Lawrence. I like books that this, ones that are about the process of doing something or the attempt to do something, or the failure. It’s why I liked Footsteps so much.
  • This also explains why I find Robert Dessaix’s Twilight of Love: Travels with Turgenev intriguing. (See Dark Orpheus’s post on the subject as well.) I’ve never read Turgenev, although I’ve been meaning to forever, but this book sounds interesting because it’s about Dessaix’s travels to research Turgenev’s life and about his attempts to puzzle out some of the mysteries of Turgenev’s life. Along these same lines, I’m also curious about Janet Malcolm’s Reading Chekhov, which is a mix of biography, criticism, and memoir.
  • I recently got myself a dual-language edition of Rilke’s Duino Elegies, which I’m quite excited about. I studied German a long time ago, and although unfortunately I don’t remember all that much, not having used it in years, I’m looking forward to having the German there so I can at least read at least some of it in the original and can puzzle out words I don’t remember. I’m always meaning to improve my German, although it’s one of those things I never get around to, not having enough to motivate me, I suppose.
  • I have a blog anniversary coming up on Saturday; be sure to check back that day for the chance to win a book I’m giving away in celebration …

And now for the meme. Susan had a great post on theme reading she can do chosen entirely from books she already owns. I can’t resist thinking of the ways I can organize the books I’ve got on hand:

The Virginia Woolf books:

  • Virginia Woolf: In Inner Life, Julia Briggs
  • Moments of Being, Virginia Woolf
  • The Voyage Out, Virginia Woolf

Eighteenth-century books:

  • Roderick Random, Tobias Smollett
  • The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom, Tobias Smollett
  • Journal of a Plague Year, Daniel Defoe
  • Captain Singleton, Daniel Defoe
  • The Recess, Sophia Lee

Books about walking and travel:

  • The Walk: Notes on a Romantic Image, Jeffrey Robinson
  • The Snow Leopard, Peter Matthieson
  • A Field Guide to Getting Lost, Rebecca Solnit
  • In Patagonia, Bruce Chatwin
  • Travels into the Interior of Africa, Mungo Park

Books about religion:

  • The Bhagavad Gita
  • The Varities of Religious Experience, William James
  • The Jefferson Bible
  • A Short History of Myth, Karen Armstrong

Essay collections and memoirs:

  • The Oxford Book of Essays
  • Quarrel and Quandary, Cynthia Ozick
  • The White Album, Joan Didion
  • The Amateur: An Independent Life of Letters, Wendy Lesser
  • About Alice, Calvin Trillin

Books for Kate’s Reading Across Borders challenge:

  • Palace Walk, Naguib Mahfouz
  • Soul Mountain, Gao Xingjian
  • Love in a Fallen City, Eileen Chang
  • Hopscotch, Julio Cortazar
  • The Makioka Sisters, Junichiro Tanizaki
  • The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Yukio Mishima


Filed under Books, Lists, Memes

9 responses to “Some thoughts and a meme

  1. That Lawrence book does sound intriguing. I’ve never “gotten” him, either, although I keep hoping maybe one day I’ll pick up something of his and see the light. Interesting meme (and you’ve got lots of books I’d like to borrow :-)!).


  2. I included Reading Chekhov as one of the titles on my Chekhov reading list last year – but never got around to it. But it seems like the kind of book I should read only after reading Chekohv’s works itself.

    Perhaps like Dessaix. Hmm.

    Do share how you’re progressing on Geoff Dyer. It just seems like a title after my own heart.

    You just reminded me I need to re-read the Gita soon.


  3. I know what you mean about spending too long on the internet. Our broadband connection went down for a day and it was actually quite blissful doing something different from sitting there browsing and tapping!


  4. Del

    Yoga for People Who Can’t be Bothered to Do It? What can this be? Recently I gave some gift tickets for yoga lessons to a friend who I thought would enjoy that sort of thing, but so far as I know, he hasn’t gone yet. I probably should have given him this book instead.

    I’d like to get Reading Chekhov for myself (as well as to actually read a lot more Chekhov). Francine Prose got me thinking about Chekhov again in her book about reading.


  5. Wherever do you find out about such interesting books about writers trying to write about writers? I’ve read Lady Chatterly’s Lover and a couple of Lawrence short stories, liked them all and plan on reading more of his novels eventually. The book about him sounds great. And I’m sure it’s your grading you must cut back on not your internet time 😉


  6. JCR

    Totally agree with you… it is the grading of papers that is invading all my waking hours… down with the system 🙂


  7. I do hope you like the Rilke – and a blog anniversary, how exciting!


  8. I spend nearly all my working time using a computer during the day and then use it at home at night. I find that my handwriting has declined terribly. I think my hands would be numb grading papers, too. I read one DH Lawrence (one of his shorter, less famous works) a long time ago, and absolutely nothing has stuck with me. As a matter of fact just today I bought Women in Love as I really want to read him. You mentioned him before in a comment and ever since I have been very curious about reading him. Maybe I will read him once I get caught up on my Tolstoy reading. I love looking at book lists–lots of new books and authors!!


  9. Emily — just say the word, and my books will be yours! In fact, I’ve now finished the Dyer book and can lend it if you like.

    Dark Orpheus, I’ll post on the Dyer book soon (probably tomorrow); I do think you’ll like it.

    Stephen, yes, an internet break is good now and then, isn’t it?

    Del, more on the yoga book soon, although I can say right now that it has nothing to do with yoga, or at least, nothing to do with the postures we think of as yoga.

    Stefanie, I found out about them from blogs and books of course! Michael Dirda has been a great source of information. I’d like to read Lady Chatterly’s Lover at some point (who knows when …)

    JCR, hmmm … you’re tempting me to spend a day without grading even one single paper or exam. Bliss!

    Litlove, I think I will like the Rilke quite a bit; I’m feeling eager to get going on it.

    Danielle, my handwriting is terrible too (although it’s never been particularly good, I must say), and using the computer so much makes it worse. I’ll be eager to read your thoughts on Lawrence when you get there.


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