What’s that smell? Must be another installment of Unrequired Reading! Now go wash your dishes!
What I’m reading: As is my wont, I did plenty of reading while visiting my in-laws for the holidays. I read Hadji Murat from Pevear and Volokhonsky’s new translation of Tolstoy’s stories, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Everyman, and started Winesburg, Ohio (Note: these were all via my Kindle; no carrying tons of books around on trips anymore). What’d I think?
- Tolstoy: Loved the new Hadji Murat and I’m glad P&V turned their attention to Tolstoy’s stories; I can’t wait to tackle Ivan Ilyich, The Kreutzer Sonata and a few others that I’ve only read in Garnett or Maude translations.
- Dog, Night, Curious: I enjoyed it, but didn’t think it was Novel of the Decade-level good, which a pal of mine contended. I’m down with “autistic Adrian Mole” as a narrator, but maybe I found the kid’s quirks too similar to my own “one step away from Asperger’s Syndrome” to be entertained.
- Dying Jew: Loved it, and was happy it didn’t turn into “elderly dying Jew is still a lion with the ladies.” Rather, starting at the lead character’s funeral and going back through past episodes of his poor health (and some of his sexcapades), Roth manages to convey our universal through the filter of this singular, never-named man (who’s Jewish and from New Jersey).
- Winesburg: I was going to start Roth’s next novel, Indignation. I knew it was largely set at a college named Winesburg, and that this was a nod to Sherwood Anderson, but, um, I’ve never read Anderson’s book. So I started that, knowing nothing about it. Seriously. I wasn’t even sure when Anderson was writing, and looked that up this morning (it was published in 1919). As it turns out, Winesburg, Ohio is written in the form of interconnected short stories. Who knew? I’m enjoying the heck out of it, and will report back next week.
What I’m watching: A bunch of college bowl games. Not my thing, but when in Rome. Also, I watched Three Kings on the flight down. Need to write about that this week.
What I’m drinking: Not much. I never really drink when I’m visiting the in-laws. Although we did have a nice Riesling that Amy’s pal Riece brought over.
What Rufus & Otis are up to: Living it up with their girlfriends, Ruby & Willow. My pal Jason texted to let me know that he & his wife got home one evening, and only two of the dogs were waiting for them in the living room. They panicked, wondering how two of the dogs had escaped (and why the other two stayed). Then they discovered that My Boy Rufus had gotten locked into their bedroom along with their dog Willow. Amy & I figured he pulled some variant of the “oh, we must be out of gas” trick, or invited her upstairs to look at his etchings. But since he has non-functioning genitalia, it was no harm, no foul. Anyway, they seemed to have a great time at our friends’ place.
Where I’m going: Nowhere! I’ll go to the office one day this week, but that’s about it! (oh, and our neighbors across the street invited us over for a New Year’s get-together with a bunch of other neighbors, so we’ll drop in on that)
What I’m happy about: See above! And, being home, where I have my familiar coffee, gin, bed and the ability to curse like a sailor. Which is to say, I like seeing my in-laws, but it sure puts me out of my element in a number of ways.
What I’m sad about: End of another year, blah blah blah.
What I’m worried about: Well, I wsa worried that there’d be all sorts of crazy new regulations on our flight back from New Orleans on Sunday but, outside of a pat-down after the metal detector, there wasn’t anything new.
What I’m pondering: What I’ll read and write (and record?) in the year ahead. Oh, and whether I should update to this blog template.