29 June 2007

Out on a limb

Inexplicably, I've been waking up at 3.00am every morning--mind buzzing and disappointingly alert. So I reach for The Maytrees and lose myself in the wee smas until the sky lightens over the sea, satisfied. (And only then can I rest.)

I have many things to do that are not getting done, but I suspect it's due to the current lack of structure of these few vacation days. So (deep breath) I'm toying with the idea of reading Against the Day (my dusty sage version), finally. I figure that having a goal of about 70 pages per day should carry me through the next couple of weeks, and I could post any random thoughts bullet-style. Yes, it's been done before by better bloggers...but I think it will go a long way towards giving these jelly days a spine. (And this sort of plan has helped me before: the week after graduating college, I took up The Brothers Karamozov at 100 pages a day. A week with Dostoevsky did me incalculable good...especially in the loose-cannon days after college and the beginning of my job search.)

Because aside from a couple personal projects I should be working on, there are also some drafted posts that have been drafts for a little too long. Such as,
  • a book-to-film comparision of Mario Mendoza's Satanás (yes, I actually took feverish notes in the theatre--y sí, creo que voy a escribirla en español)
  • my little stack of remaining post-it notes to the glorious Cloud Atlas
  • mini-reviews to books read this past term (including the break)
  • thoughts on Auster's The Book of Illusions
Meanwhile, Over the Rhine is nearing the release of a new album. I stumbled on a serendipitous link to the gleefully naughty "Trouble" and the warm country vibe of "If A Song Could Be President" today. (This music + a Peroni + dusk gathering over the ocean under the balcony helped inspire this post.) I owe this band quite a lot (not the least of which includes my introduction to Dillard during my 18th year).


Carrie said...

You are such a girl after my own heart! I set those same kind of crazy reading goals! I can't wait to hear what you think of Against the Day. I haven't read it, but I am so tempted to!

Brook said...

you two are both nuts...
BK in a WEEK?!!?? lord... that book took me 9 months!
I can't help rolling my eyes every time Carrie tells me how many pages she has to read each day to finish a book by such and such a day or timeframe. :)

treena taniesha said...

I met Dillard in my 21st year. That's 20 wasted years--or maybe it took that long for life to ready me for her. So much she had already written by the time I was born. Why had I no one to read Holy the Firm to me in the womb??

And I too flip right back to the first page of her books after reading the last. I think she mentions doing that herself as a child--in An American Childhood.

amcorrea said...

I'm nowhere near as disciplined as Carrie, but I guess (in a sick way) page goals help me harken back to college days when I had to plow through, say, Great Expectations in four days. In reality, I'm a lazy bum that needs small, achievable goals in order to feel validated. (Too much information?)

Treena--yes, she does. And you're certainly making up for lost time! (I love the idea of reading Holy the Firm to a child in utero. Will tuck this away for future--far future!--reference.)

Brook said...

100 pages a day of Brothers Karamazov is your idea of a small, achievable goal?!? You give us lazy bums around the world a bad name...

amcorrea said...

Hey, it only happened once. I'm still a member of the illustrious Lazy Bum Society--it took me 6 months to get through Pickwick Papers and another three to read Vanity Fair (and I loved them both).

rjnagle said...

Oddly, I listened to Book of Illusions almost completely in the car. Auster has an interesting voice; he reads rapidly and with lots of inflections. Wouldn't you like to see film versions of those Hector Mann silent films? I suspect Auster wants to see them too.

I read Brothers K in a week and a half in high school. In fact, I read every major work of Dostoevksy in that 4th year of high school. I joke it permanently scarred me (though it is true that I automatically assumed that all protagonists had to be Christian-thinking nihilists). Decades later, I prefer fairy tales and myths. Ovid, etc.

I've returned to Brothers K several times. Nabakov's criticism of Dostoevsky really stung, but rereading it impressed me about how effective Dostoevsky was in staging dramatic action. The jury trial was almost a hundred pages (each chapter was a single speech!), and yet there was lots of suspense the whole time.

It never occurred to me until now, but Book of Illusions shared similarities with the narrative style of Dostoevksy: philosophical/solipsistic, bombastic and full of plot twists and conventional storytelling.