I finished Don Quixote yesterday, and today I completed In Search of Lost Time.  Woo-hoo!

This opened up so much free time today that I ended up filling it by mopping my kitchen floor.  This is quite a rare occurrence, let me assure you.

I’ll write my thoughts on completing these books soon, but I think I’ve spent enough time staring at the computer today and my eyes are tired.

Before I go, though, I’ll point you to this interesting article from The Atlantic (link via Bookslut), described as “an attack on the growing pretentiousness of American literary prose.”  The argument in the article is basically that contemporary literary prose is sloppy and badly done, and we would be better off reading classics.  I have to say, though, as much as I didn’t like the author’s over-generalizations and all-around crankiness, I liked the part where he critiques Annie Proulx, whose novel Shipping News I didn’t like at all, and I found the Cormac McCarthy section amusing.  I wasn’t agreeing with him at all about Don Delillo, however.


Filed under Books, Links, Reading

11 responses to “Finished!

  1. Wow, congrats! You should have gotten a reward for finishing both of those instead of mopping the floor! Thanks for the article link. Off to go read it…


  2. Woo hoo indeed! And ahead of schedule!


  3. Congratulations! It’s quite an accomplishment to have read not only Don Quixote but all of Proust as well! It’s a nice feeling to have all that extra reading time, isn’t it!


  4. By the way–that was an interesting article. I have to say –Ouch–to some of what the author wrote! I didn’t read all the examples as I got the drift early on, but I thought there were some good points made actually–especially when I wasn’t expecting to agree. There are times when I don’t understand an author and I blame myself for my own inabilities to not get it, and I thought it was interesting that the author recognized that about readers (and maybe it isn’t always the reader’s fault?). I do wish,however, that they would have given some examples of contemporary authors who they did think were Literary. Are there none at all? They did at least give examples of works that are good, though not well known now. And I like the idea of newspapers giving space to works that are older but worthy reads. Why don’t they do that? Lots of interesting things to think about–thanks for the link.


  5. Congratulations on finishing Don Quixote and Proust. Proust! But you “celebrated” by mopping your kitchen floor? Huh?


  6. Congrats on finishing Proust! I’ll have to finish DQ to catch up to you now 🙂


  7. I read the article at the Atlantic and thought it sounded really familiar. It’s a short version of B.R. Myers’ book A Reader’s Manifesto in which he spends 134 pages arguing how terrible contemporary writers are. He makes some good points but it is clear by the end of the book he is mostly full of hot air.


  8. Thanks for the link. I agree with many of his assessments, not all, but many. He sure knew how to pick out the good lines, though, when he conceded that authors sometimes “hit the nail on the head.”

    Snow Falling on Cedars didn’t quite do it for me; I read it when it came out…years ago, and found myself wondering what the fuss was about. Felt the same with All the Pretty Horses and The Road which for me, did not live up to the hype. My favorite McCarthy was No Country for Old Men; not because of the prose, but the struggle that Sheriff Bell goes through in trying to understand the changes in values that had occurred in his lifetime.


  9. Thank you everyone! I’m pleased to be done with both those books, although I enjoyed them too.

    About the article, Danielle — I do think that’s a great idea that newspapers and magazines could give more space to older works — I enjoy those articles about older works that come out in places like the New Yorker now and then, but I’d like more. Blogs are good for that very reason — people are writing about books from every time period. Stefanie — interesting; I didn’t know about the book. I think I’d feel the same way about it — good points now and then but mostly just crankiness. Jenclair, I haven’t tried Guterson, and I don’t think I will!


  10. A really interesting article but I’m not sure I agree with much of what is said. Sure, there are lots of sections of Annie Proulx’s writing that might not make sense when ruthlessly pulled apart word by word, but he doesn’t account for the fact that her writing is so pleasurable to read. I don’t like authors that are wilfully difficult but I don’t think any of his examples fall into that category.

    Still, it’s good that articles like this exist to keep us all thinking critically about what we read.


  11. Wow – Congratulations! I agree, what’s this about mopping the floor? You should have gone out and bought some new books instead 🙂


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