Saturday, December 29, 2012

On The Reading of Books

We are coming to the end of another pleasurable Christmas weekend at my in-laws. The day did not go as planned, it was to be a finally day of writing. However, nature intervened, we got maybe five inches of snow in a couple of hours and the power went out. So instead we took the kids out to my sister-in-law's boyfriend's place out in Albany, enjoying hayrides, snowball fights, a roaring bonfire, and hot cocoa. It was a worthy exchange. We can always write, we cannot always do these things.

Melancholy accompanies the final evening before a departure. Though the power is back, the lights are on, we are in our pajamas next to a warm fire and a sleeping hound, ready to read until we choose to retire. There is the inevitable sadness that comes with returning to life as usual. New Year's Eve is ahead of us, but still. Christmas is only now coming to an end.

I am currently enjoying the first volume of Simon Callow's biography of Orson Welles: The Road to Xanadu. Reading has been very difficult for me this year, as I have begun and then discarded several volumes, which I may or may not return to. Some I surely shall, others leave me doubtful.

Susan Orleans' Rin Tin Tin was a welcome gift last Christmas, which I began at that time with great interest. However, the outreach tour got in the way and it was shelved some one hundred pages in. I see it every day, it is waiting for me. Stay, old boy. I will be right back.

Trying to find something to inspire me in preparation of The Times (or as an excuse to see the movie when it is released) I tried for perhaps the fourth time to read Kerouac's On the Road. After twenty pages I decided once again that Capote was right. And you can look that up.

Finally, I waited until after the election to read Under The Banner of Heaven. I have very much enjoyed other works by Jon Krakauer, but worked mightily not to let Mitt Romney's religion affect my opposition to him as a candidate. I have found Mormonism to be no more nor less ridiculous than any other religion that exists on earth, but concentrating on the history of the most repellent people who practice it is as unfair as concentrating on those most repellent Catholics, Muslims or Jews. However, I was interested and began in interest, until the events of Newtown, CT made my taste for stories of paranoid, murderous Americans vanish, for the duration.

And so we return to biography, in particular one which was loaned to me by my father maybe a decade ago. Just as well, I had his copy of The Last Place On Earth for almost as long but finally read and thoroughly enjoyed that.

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