Sunday, May 17, 2009

a. The only reading I've been able to do:
William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury. No, I had never read it. I agree, I really wasn't a Southerner all those years. It's perfectly, hopelessly flawed: one of those stirring novels that says a thousand things in a thousand different ways, but when it is coherent, it is heartbreakingly so. I loved it. Oprah loved it in 2005. The sticker on the front said so.

G.K. Chesterton's The Four Faultless Felons. Now, I really like a lot of G.K. Chesterton's writings, because he's really fat and happy*, but these brief, related novellas were some exceptions. There was a lot of anti-Semitic rhetoric and characterizations throughout the stories that weren't relevant and were really disheartening. I haven't noticed this in my preferred Chesterton offerings but it might color my rereadings of those books (Orthodoxy, The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond, The Man Who Was Thursday).

*read: the anti-Dostoevsky. You can't subsist on Fyodor alone. That is, I can't. I love him, but sometimes I need a break.

And I picked up this Bible study on faith. I'll have to look up its name because it has some pretty dap quotes from Flannery O'Connor and a lot of ideas that I agree with, such as the Descartian idea that doubt is part of any journey of faith, and some ideas that took me aback, but in a good way.

b. Public service announcement: Starbucks is offering 1.95$ grande iced coffees with milk through June! See? Such expressions of benevolence can't be from a corporate monster! (Although I do miss that cash-only-please coffee place on Main with the generous espresso artist.) My sister and I took advantage of the special the other day. Fact I found out in the course of drinking our caramel, skim milk iced coffees: she considers coffee shops to be perfect date destinations. (Incidental fact: I do, too. Actually, though, I'll get coffee with anyone for any occasion at all...)

c. I miss downtowns.


Beth Nell said...

Oooo niice to know about Starbucks :)I wanna go get coffee with you!!

claire said...

And I want to get coffee with YOU! You coming to Florida anytime soon? :P

Justin said...

Read Chesterton's The Ball and the Cross. I haven't read The Four Faultless Felons so I can't attest to its debunking or reiteration of the latter's problems, but it is worth a read. It was my first Chesterton and I was intrigued and challenged if not entertained.

I'm living in relative solitude in Hanover, PA for a bit and reading Chaucer. (Translated Chaucer -- not middle English. I'm a little embarassed.) I have no one to challenge my readings and interpretations. Please help!

Finally, I have yet to read The Sound and the Fury. To be fair, though, my Southerner card was nullified years ago. I'm interested to read some Faulkner though; my only previous experience is a short story. Should S&F be my first? Then again, I have a large stack of unread books beckoning to me. Again, Claire: help me!

I hope all is well.

You are lovely.

Claire said...

Bless your heart, Justin. I'm fine, and I'll read The Ball and the Cross if you read The Man Who Was Thursday. Sometime....

Relative solitude and reading Chaucer (if translated)? That's so Walden. First of all, are you enjoying yourself? Secondly, what are your interpretations?

My reasons for recommending The Sound and the Fury primarily have to do with Faulkner's characters, esp. the book's narrators... it is written from the perspectives of the three brothers in the family. One is developmentally disabled, one is depressed and emotionally unstable, and one is just kind of mean and self-centered, so each of them has a point of view that is really narrowly focused and unique. The last section has another, anonymous narrator who I think is close to being omniscient. It's an interesting contrast. At first I didn't know if I liked the change from characters I knew to an omniscient, characterless voice, but now I think it's better that it ended with a perspective that was outside the situation. I would suggest reading SatF because I found it a fast read. It's not always easy to follow, but it's not a book that you strictly read for the events that happen in it. It's rife with really cool imagery and classical themes. I think we could have some pretty sweet discussions about it.

Justin said...

I have actually read The Man Who Was Thursday. I read it last summer. Having no one at the time to help me meet through the challenges of the book, I continue to be mystified by much of the work -- not unlike my experience with The Ball and the Cross. So, having held up my end of your proposal, you have some reading to do.

Regarding Satf: how totally expressionist. I'm into it. I'm having a similar experience with the Canterbury Tales, actually. All of the stories are told from unique, specific, and not always positive perspectives. I'll lend you my translation (haha). The hardest part to deal is the blatant and exhausting medieval-Christian sexism. Women ARE responsible for original sin, you know. BUT! It is surprisingly Humanistic. I think it is often studied and presented as a middle age-Renaissance transition piece (a la Death and the Ploughman). Honestly, I wish I had more knowledge of Greek, Roman, and Christian mythology because I would understand a lot more of the story.

Anyway, I have to get off of here. Yes, it's 5:45 AM.

Beth Nell said...

Hmmmm...I wish! Maybe someday... would be such fun! =D