Sunday, August 28, 2005

Summer reading

I'm in a reading dead zone right now. It's a space issue. My apartment is not yet set up to be conducive to read in -- in spite of my comfy Ikea chair in the living room, the living room is still too spartan sans couch, coffee table, etc. I read when I go to bed, but that only accounts for a couple of pages before I fall asleep. And I don't yet have a spot I can set myself up in downtown, a coffee shop or cafe with seats comfortable enough to settle into for the better part of an afternoon.

There are a lot of pubs with such seating, but the lighting isn't great and, besides which, pubs are kind of depressing in the afternoon.

In London, my place was Williams Coffee Pub at Richmond and Central. The coffee there was mediocre and the food not great, but they had these amazing booths where you could spread out and spend the afternoon reading, working or just doing the crossword. It was an ideal place for someone like me, who ideally needs a change in scenery some time around lunch. My perfect off-campus work day was to be up relatively early, spend the morning in my pyjamas with my coffee at my desk, then switch locales for the afternoon (it would have been even better if I could have continued wearing my pyjamas, but I guess we can't have everything). Before the insanity of the move caught up to me, I was being quite productive in my last few weeks in London ...

But I have no reading space here. I'm actually ploughing through my course texts and research material quite well when on campus, but I'm missing my non-class, non-research related reading that gives me a measure of sanity.

I love reading. I suppose that, for an English prof, that should go without saying, but then I've always been baffled by many English students' reluctance to read. Why are you majoring in English, I've often wanted to demand (and indeed have, on occasion). I go a little snaky when I don't have the time for non-work related reading (though one of the lovely things about this career is I can justify such reading somewhere in the back of my mind as being maybe, possibly, one day relevant). And I read pretty promiscuously ... not just novels and fiction, but an awful lot of history; good political writing is a joy; and lately, largely because I want a better understanding of the troubling ascendancy of the religous right around the world, I've been getting into some theological stuff.

Or at least I was before arriving. Right now Karen Armstrong's The History of God is gathering dust on my bedside table, as is John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany. On the other hand, this all probably accounts for why I've been so prolific with my blog -- a sublimated reading strategy? I guess we'll see what happens once I get back in my reading groove.


Maggie said...

Williams really went downhill after I left. Har! Hope you find a reading place soon.

mr. tomas ubik said...

did I ever tell you that I ended up getting like 6 of the books off that list you handed us in alternative realities. i had my mom buy me plenty to read based on your suggestions and the unbearable lightness of being truly was a must.

i also grabbed

money - amis
midnights children - rushdie
100 years of solitude - marquez

and two more that i just strained my brain trying to remember, but cant.

all good so far...i havnt been in the modd for money of late...i need to do more drugs or watch fear and loathing again or something to get me going, but itll come.

i also grabbed this incredibly insightful book called how soccer explains the world, an unlikely tale of globalization. if you like futebol and the international dynamic of cultural difference its a solid read...solid like a book.

Chris in NF said...

what did you think of amis' Money? If there was ever a novel to appeal to the MIT sensibility, that would be it.

glad the list was of use. I debated giving it to you guys -- I figured it was even money it would come across as unbearably pretentious. :-)

and yes, the Kundera rocks. Read Immortality next. I think it's even better

FanglyFish said...

You grammar good....