Wednesday, November 28, 2007


And now, back to our regularly scheduled program

It should come as no surprise to hear that I've taken a long, meandering, circuitous break from reading Montaigne's Essays and now feel sufficiently fortified to return to them and proceed. After receiving a Daedalus remainder order and attending the little library sale last weekend, I found myself with a new stack of temptingly readable books, and over the course of the past week I consumed many of them like bonbons. Or maybe, more to my taste, a bag of kettle chips: Willa Cather's The Professor's House, Alain de Botton's Status Anxiety, the Library of America Poems and Other Writings of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a lovely art book entitled In the Gardens of Impressionism by Clare A.P. Willsdon (she quotes Renoir at one point: "'Give me an apple tree in a suburban garden. I haven't the slightest need of Niagara Falls.'"), Andrew Todhunter's A Meal Observed, the Revelations of Divine Love by Julian of Norwich (read half of it, may read the other half), part of Kurt Vonnegut's political-memoiry-thing A Man Without a Country, and most of The Life and Letters of J. Alden Weir. Whew. Busy reading week. I tend to read much more during the winter than other times of year. This winter looks to be no exception. And everywhere I go, I'm hauling around Montaigne, at the bottom of my tote bag. Heavy old thing. I'm starting to feel quite fond of him.

A good week here. Many books sold. Paid the shop rent a few days early. Onward.

You obviously must be an honors graduate of the Evelyn Wood speed reading course. What do you think of Anton Chekhov? I don't think you have ever mentioned him. I'm reading him now. (but not at your rate) Wonderful!

Well done with the rent.
Steven, sad to report that I haven't read (or seen) any Chekhov since I went on a long Russian literature binge when I was in my early twenties. As is usual following most binges, memory afterwards is a bit hazy. One of the sweetest books I own, however, is a little Modern Library edition of the plays of Chekhov - signed by Lillian Gish. I'll read it someday, I promise.

No speed reading necessary. Just don't watch any television. There you go, hours of free time every day! To read! (Caveat - sometimes I watch the Patriots.)

Jon - thank you (taking a bow). Like most penurious shopkeepers, I consider it a minor victory when I can pay the rent each month. Nearly seven years and counting, now. Whew.
His short pieces are just the Rx when you can't sleep at night. A prized possession you have signed by Gish!

Thought you would like this good discussion on the decline of reading today on NPR:

Thanks, Steven - I'll check it out... reading isn't declining around here, no siree. No moss growing on this rock. Or something like that.
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