Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday Confession

I have never read Vonnegut. Not only that, but even in the hype and tumult that follows an artist’s death, I don’t have a great desire to read him. I’m sure he was a good writer, and I have enjoyed reading a number of his quotes and opinions over the past day, as well as in the past.

But Vonnegut for me is kind of like Los Angeles. It’s probably an interesting place, but I don’t particularly want to go there. One has to make choices! Here it is mid-April and with working, mothering, writing, wifing, dog-owning and doing the mashed potato, I’ve read three books this year (Gulag Archipelago, Housekeeping and John Dollar). Of course I’ve read a lot of poetry, but rarely “by the book.”

I’m glad just to have read two books from my January “to-read” list. And in the meantime, my priorities have changed. I still want to read the Grant memoirs, but I’m skeptical of getting to it this year. Instead, I’m very keen to read The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, which my mother is reading now and then passing along, and J.M. Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello. I should also read Mary Gaitskill’s Two Girls Fat & Thin. And Rick Moody’s The Ice Storm. And I should finish Leonardo Da Vinci’s Notebooks, and finally get to Don DeLillo.

You get the picture.

9 comments:

Nic Sebastian said...

With you on Vonnegut. No appeal there and way too many really appealing books not even close to getting read.

rae said...

Sarah,

Just from my very limited observation of your personality, I really think you'd love Vonnegut. I know that sometimes when a place or a person or a thing is given so much attention because of its greatness, it paradoxically becomes less great - at least, this happens to me. But, I do hope one day you'll give him a try.

Ash said...

I've read some Vonnegut. And though I enjoyed the books, I never found myself re-reading them in those moments when I was searching my library shelves for something to read.

Ash said...

I was initially bummed when I heard he had died, but when I thought about it, I think it had more to do with what was going on in my life at the time I was reading Vonnegut than the actual reading of Vonnegut. My daughter was new on the planet and that was a joyous time for me. Cat's Cradle and Player Piano just happened to be what I was reading at the time.

wv: rmalf

SarahJane said...

I'm really not nay-saying him. I probably would enjoy him. I just have feel mortality hanging over my head...!
when i was a kid my parents had his books in the house and i remember always wondering about them since they had interesting titles, but the interest never kindled for me.
I'm sure everyone has a list of writers like this.
smile

Andrew Shields said...

I hope you enjoy Elizabeth Costello as much as I did! A book I keep thinking about and have read three times. :-)

Sam of the ten thousand things said...

I've meant to ask you - and I've read Gulag - if you've read August 1914. Sorry if I'm repating myself. I was overwhelmed by the force of that novel.

I have to say though that Slaughterhouse-Five is a powerful read.

SarahJane said...

Hi Andrew - Coetzee's "Disgrace" was one of my favorite books, and I read a good review of Elizabeth Costello. Just have to get a copy.

Sam, No, I haven't read that one, but I would be very interested in reading it. I read "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denosovich" almost exactly 11 years ago, and liked that one, too.

Andrew Shields said...

E. Costello is not quite as immediately explosive as Disgrace, but it resonates as much over time. — Disgrace is also a book I return to a lot in my thoughts, in fact. JMC is simply a writer who makes one think. And think. And think. To a large degree because of what he makes you feel.

Related Posts with Thumbnails