Sunday, November 04, 2018

Reading for a Lifetime

I admit to a insidious weakness—one that eats away time and often has no real value. Whenever I read about a challenge—reading or writing and sometimes art—I am drawn as if by some magnetic force to enter. These challenges are not for any renumeration or, most often, not for a badge or trophy. Although I did get a paper certificate when I completed my 50,000 word novel during the November Write a Novel Month. That was in 2012. I am once again partaking in this spewing of words on a page marathon.

But today when I was at the library picking up a book  I stopped to look at the new non- fiction books. There it was. The ultimate challenge to any reader. 1000 Books to Read Before You Die.

Perhaps this is a way to extend your life way beyond your statistical life expectancy. Then again, if you seriously embarked upon this ultimate reading challenge it would mean reading books you have studiously avoided your entire life.

It reminded me of Nina Sankovitch who read a book a day for a year and wrote a review for each book. She did this while taking time out to ferry her children to their activities and  cooking and whatever else falls on the shoulders of wife and mother.Now that’s a commitment. Her year eventually became a book: Tolstoy and the Purple Chair— a year of magical reading.

So I took out this tome which not only includes his list but also fairly detailed details about each author and a synopsis of the book he has on the list. It’s either a labor of love or a way to direct an obsessive character trait. 

No, I am not about to start on page one, but I am willing to peruse the book and find some books that are not the usual selections of what ever educated person must or should read.

I opened the book to a random page and there was Philip Dick staring at me. ( I’m famiar with Philip, but never read any of his books.) I do so like a photo. And there was a line that caught my attention: “His powerfully paranoid, surreal, and gnostic tableaux are invoked by journalists, conspiracy theorists, and hipsters alike.”James Mustich, the author of this fascinating book, also includes when the book was written, awards won, any adaptations, and further readings. 

After reading about the three books listed I do believe I shall pick up The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. What a incredible title. This book contains “ sassy cybernetic constructs”. I’m not sure I know what those are, but what can I lose. 

This book may be the lost treasure trove of delight. I wonder if it’s available on kindle. Now if I read one book he suggests every month...

How long is Proust’s In Search of Lost Time?



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