Diary of Lisa Taylor, reluctantly 42 (and a half)

Or.. 'f.ck me I'm forty.. two.. and a half', though can look 38 on a - not so deluded - good day. Or 'How to reconcile a well experienced mind trapped in a still - but for how long? – youthful body.' Don't have the 30somethings angst/problems, neither have the resigned (?) ageing baby-boomers in safe family territory outlook yet. Here's how I cope, one day all sexy women will get old... but never invisible. © Lisa Taylor 2005/6/7/8/9. Jeez.. so much for the 42 and-a-half delusion

Thursday, December 23, 2010

20 December - Bolano & Franzen

Would my time have been better spent reading 4 other interesting books in the time it took to read 1 Bolano? Granted 2666 will stay with me but largerly only for reason of marvelling at skill of writer at pulling such a monumental feat and for some resonant thoughts expressed here and there by various characters, but certainly not for any of the characters as such (don't care for any except mabye all the dead women in Santa Theresa who are not characters as such). Only the other day I was telling a friend who has yet to tackle the book past page 40 that she should start with the 4th part, and in so doing 'Start with 4, then 5 and then 1 and 2 and 3' . I realisedt that I no longer remembered who /what was in art 2 and 3 read ages ago. So you know, it's hard to recommend a novel you've read in the past 2 years and forgotten so much of it.

As for Franzen I already agree with (the UK) reviewers, great but not all that after all. In other words not a masterpiece. Though Toph asked what do I consider a masterpiece and I couldn't name one, simply because nothing stays with you for long and you'd end up just naming some universally approved book on some top 100 of the western world (always feel have to clarify that the gaps in one's reading are so wide despite reading a lot, that you know entire countries' outputs are missing, some far (never read a south korean writer) and some cose by (never read a greek modern writer apart fro 1 poet, Cavaby).

So, Franzen, well for such an accomplished writer, Patty's voice is not true to the character. It just sounds like Franzen. And that in writing is school boy error non? Both Katz and Walter think she's brilliant /beautiful but why the f ????????? You'd be hard pressed to think that in reading what she has to say. it's only interesting because it's Franzen's voice, Patty wouldn't think half of those thoughts. Then Toph said it's like J. blinded by how brilliant G. is and nobody else can see it. And funnily enough he pursues G. not the other way round so G. is the Patty who maybe one day turns around and thinks 'you'll do' . Though maybe this is normal in all relationships. To think the best of the other otherwise what would you be doing with him/her? and for your friends to largely think nothing of the sort because if they did they'd all be after your partner and that would be well messy?

But yes, very funny novel and very apt for baby boomers, though have not read more than 200 pages (but I am known to skip ahead and read paragraphs /pages here and there, just to check which way the wind blows ahead of my reading).

What I can't get over is this guys' s best friend, David Foster Wallace, one of my other favourite writers though a lot more hard going than Franzen, killing himself. Now my opinions on the killing oneself are variable, alternating between we should all consider doing it at some point and save time/hassle/pain etc or ... we're here for a reason even if that reason is not clear to ourselves and we alll have value even tough we could be said to have hardly any.

But I gather Foster Wallace did it because when he was on medication to feel better against his depression, he could no longer write what he thought was good to write and if he couldn't do that then he was not a writer and therefore did not want to live.

But in Bolano I read the best 2 pages on why sometimes it's best not to bother being a writer of largely minor works which abound whereas the masterpieces are few and far between and i can't currently name you one that seems valid today (sure you know, when it came out War & Peace must have been the best/hardest novel ever) though if all thougth that, then what would I be left reading, this being my one and only favourite passtime and always will be? (noticed I hardly noticed in writing this sentence that I have displaced sex from beinga #1 passtime, when did this happen? bloody hormones gone forever...)
It's all on pages xx and xx (don't have the book at hand, past the misway of part 5 I recollect).

Another thought no school master will ever act upon is , if you wonder how to entice many non readers to read books that appear daunting or have difficult opening pages, slice them in half or in more than 2 parts and select the best bit (someone will have done this for you) and read backwards or forwards, after all our brain can handle it and often the narrative is structured like that deliberately and movies do that now so we're more used to it.

It's true that about 300 pages of count of montecristo right past the middle are totally missable, or chunks of the middle of famished road are equally not advancing the story and could be excised. Not forever but you can tell the reader, go back when you have time to these bits, in the meantime don't just chuck the book out of a window. That way you don't lose readers. Though whose opinion would I trust? And would this be done just for the good books or the skilfully written but pointless stuff I see people reading on the tube? Who am I to banish the jodi picoult?

But my argument doesn't stand. people are not scared of large books like I am. Their heart does not sink when they see 800 pages plus. Otherwise who'd have read all those harry potters, twilight and you name it? But those are 'easy' prose right? Page turners... Bolano certainly isn't, so my argument is only for literary books but Bolano is hard going (you know re-read sentences, work out if they make sense or not) but not literary per se. Ok, am tied up in knots, I don't care, I now simply have to read Savage Detectives though, can't be harder than 2666. I 'll give myself a year for this one....


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