Hey, remember when I said I was going to read Ulysses? I have to say I’m still not quite ready to admit that this book has kicked my ass. (I maintain that it’s really not that hard once I get into the rhythm of it, but it’s just that every time I think about picking it up, I look at it and say “Why the fuck is this book so long?” I don’t like reading a few hundred pages of something and looking at my overall progress in terms of total pages and feeling like a failure.) I’ll finish it at some point because I’m stubborn, but yes, I’ve been cheating on it with other books. It happened gradually. At first I pretended that I was still reading Ulysses, except I really wasn’t reading Ulysses, and so for awhile, I wasn’t reading anything at all. But I got bored with that soon enough and started picking up other books. Out of those, here are five:
1. The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler
Oh sure, I saw the movie ages ago, but I figured it was time I actually read the book. This decision may or may have not been partly made for me by the fact that I was looking for something to read and this was lying around the house. I’d pretty much forgotten most of the story (I said I saw the movie ages ago), so I was easily able to go along with it, and it was a good time.
2. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson – Emily Dickinson
Like Ulysses, this is a very long book. In fact, it’s much longer than Joyce’s novel (and also rather heavy and awkward to read). The upside is that it’s broken into many small pieces. I’ve read many of Dickinson’s poems over the course of my life, and so this time I picked things I hadn’t gotten to before, of which there still were plenty. Now I’ve read them all.
3. Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
I felt like I had to read this book so I’d know what other people were talking about, but are people still talking about it? I don’t know. What I do know is that for the most part it was a light read, and it was definitely an easy one. Perfect for beach reading, if I were one to go to the beach. Sometimes books like that are necessary.
4. Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair – Pablo Neruda
Okay, yes, I’d already read this one before, but sometimes Pablo Neruda is a necessity of life. “I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.” Ah.
5. Persuasion – Jane Austen
Despite my status as something of an Austen nerd, I’d actually missed this one up until now. It had been awhile since I’d read any of her books, and I was reminded again of what a masterful writer she was, and this is now my favorite book of hers.