December 18, 2010 § Leave a comment
Finished a while ago: The Ring and the Book, by Robert Browning, and The Divine Husband, by Francisco Goldman.
Reading now: David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens.
It’s been a strange few months, reading-wise: for the first time in a while, I felt a little worn out with my reading. Basically, I overloaded my plate with long, long books. I averaged about a book a month for most of the year. That’s pathetic, really, but these were all doorstops. Since March, I read seven very ambitious, self-consciously epic books, all of which I enjoyed to varying degrees. But by the time I got around to Browning, after reading Possession, I was burnt out.
Now, exhaustion with the long form and the grand scope is no time to read a 12-book, 600-page Victorian historical poem, replete with Browning’s characteristic erudite allusions, multiple languages, and exotic vocabulary. I should’ve just waited on it, but it seemed such a perfect follow-up to Byatt’s book that I soldiered on. I love Browning, but I was unable to muster any sort of enthusiasm for The Ring and the Book.
And then there was The Divine Husband, a really pretty great novel about Central America. I felt like it would be a nice palate cleanser, but it turned out to be rather grand and sweeping itself. This is normally a good thing; however, in my state, I found myself taking breaks to read from an anthology of new fabulists stories called ParaSpheres, with no better reason that that they were short. (Though it’s a good anthology, don’t get me wrong.)
All of this by way of some sort of explanation for the silence here. I have not died and this is not the typing of a ghost. Nor has The Ambiguities died. It’s been on hiatus, placed there by the TV executives in my brain who were too dumb to muster up any energy to write.
So, by way of restart, a new look for the blog. It’s called “Oulipo,” so I was going to pick it no matter what it looked like. Luckily it’s pretty nice, too, I think. Coming very soon: top fives of the year, and then a flurry of David Copperfield posts. (Yeah, I know: “You’re reading Dickens when you’re tired of long books, idiot?” You’re right, but it’s Dickens. In December. And it’s snowing. How can I not read Dickens?)