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Saturday, August 23, 2003

Late Summer Reading

I am plodding through the second volume of Theodore Roosevelt's biography. About 350 pages in and have hit the wall. It is well written, but after about 950 pages of President Roosevelt, I need some relief. I started picking through David Foster Wallace's book of essay "A Supposedly Fun Thing I Will Never Do Again", as well as beginning a re-read of "A Fan's Notes", just the thing to start football season. I have a ton of books in the to be read pile, and a few posted here that I want to get to. I think this fall, I will be some settling down with some good book reading time. But what is good reading. My sister can read crime genre novels with relative ease but, with my degree in English literature, I get guilty pangs if I am only reading about the latest exploits of Patterson's Alex Delaware of the latest Grisham. And it isn't wrong to be lost and free inside a procedural crime book. There is a familiarity there and a sense of safety knowing the bad guy will get caught in the end - - And, but so, why can I no longer concentrate on a book much these days? I am a veracious reader and have logged in about 20 books this year so far. Hardly a world record, but I used to read so much more. Some of it is this pesky internet. I am drawn to the blogshere and the journalistic websphere and I read the web, really read the web every day. That counts, I am sure but it isn't the same. Harper's is to blame too. Oh, sure, it seems simple enough. How tough can such a thin little magazine like that be. And then blamo, bam, bam, you are stuck trying to get your head around a review by John Leonard and you head starts hurting as he throws even more at you to think about comparing Delilo to a great hamburger or casting high praise to Vonnegut and to Latin American television in the same graph. I am often left staring vaguely into space.