Sunday, March 01, 2009

Trying to Read

Killing time in airports, especially the international transit areas which have, in most cases, turned into huge duty free shopping malls with emphasis on high end attire and electronics, plus the same old, same old liquor and perfumes. Fortunately there's usually a couple of bookshops. Perhaps unfortunately because I can only resist the sale for a certain amount of time.

A Buy-Two-Get-One-Free come on at W.H.Smith in Heathrow when I was stuck for four hours finally enticed me to get 1599, as well as a book of Nadine Gordimer's short stories and some bit of pablum that was disguised as real philosophy which I've already taken to the thrift shop. I am trying rather valiantly to read 1599. Its subtitle is "A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare". The author is James Shapro who seems to have read every scrap of British history of the era. He writes well enough but it's so far it's hard to keep it open wide enough to see the whole page. But the real problem is that my eyes get tired at the end of the day. And the underlying problem is that my sleep has been all messed up for weeks. I get into a list of the names of all the nobles in Elizabeth' court who were fighting the rebellious Irish -- who were being starved on purpose! And had every reason to rebel. I'm interested in the politics but not that list of names. My eyes start to close, the heavy book tilts out of my hand and I lose the page... Progress is very slow.

I thought the other day I'd try a novel instead. Recently I bought from Daedalus Booksellers three novels by Nobel Prize winner, Effrida Jellinek. Since I needed something to keep me awake I chose the one called Lust. OMG! The cover blurb says her writing is violent -- that is a major understatement. Her characters are bestial, they do not have names, and the sex is almost continuous and indeed very violent and brutal. It was so repulsive I put it down and haven't gone back ... but I will. Yes. Because I want to understand what there is about this writer that could so impress the Nobel Academy.

I do know why the Nobel was given to Nadine Gordimer so maybe I should give myself a break and read the book of short stories I purchased. Sometimes reading IS an advsnture for me and I like that. In fact I'm reading yet one more book, Out of Antartica by Robert Argod which may be science or lunatic fringe. I'm not sure. He premises that large parts of the earth's inhabitants originated on the Antarctic continent and that many mythologies prove it. Proving something with myths is like proving things by quoting the Bible. All these books will get read, but it's a slow, slow period.

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