Thursday, November 06, 2008

40 years old, and I still get homework

Look at Vee, such the little joiner.

In 2006, Matthew Baldwin of defectiveyeti put his own little spin on NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo, and decided to start NaNoReMo -- National Novel Reading Month. He was going to read Moby Dick all month, and post his progress on his blog. I sat back and watched the fun. It reinforced my lack of desire ever to read that book. I'm not sure, but I don't think he finished it. It's 500+ pages, in that dense, wordy style I find particularly off-putting. Like Henry James, only worse.

In 2007, he asked readers to join him, and to pick which book to read. Votes were cast and tallied, and in the end they chose Catch 22. I'd read that for a class in college, I don't remember which one. I didn't join in, mainly out of laziness. I did follow the blog, though, and bits of the book came back to me as I read his comments.

This year the group chose Lolita. I managed to make it through a college career as an English major without having to read that book. I don't know how. I picked it up on my own about ten or fifteen years ago, and every once in a while I go back and read it again. I'd like to hear what other people have to say about it. I think I keep going back because I'm puzzled about why it's considered "great." All I see is a pedophile, crying over his lost prey. There has to be more to it than that, and I'm just missing it. I am famous for letting symbolism go flying over my head. Occasionally I'll look up distractedly and ask, "What was that whooshing noise?"

So I'm joining in. According to the syllabus, I need to have Part 1, chapters 1-13 read by tomorrow. Fortunately, this is one of the books I've already unpacked and put on my bookshelf. And today, I managed to remember to take it off of the shelf and put it in my purse. If I'd been thinking, I could have brought it with me to read while I was waiting to vote on Tuesday. Instead, I was reading They Came to Baghdad by Agatha Christie.

Off to lunch, and to read.

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