A Reader's Diary

Monday, October 5, 2009

Today's book, "Writer and critic Manguel's (Reading Pictures) elegantly elliptical and wryly contemporary diary of cities revisited and books reread during 2002 and 2003 opens with a journey he undertakes to his birthplace, Buenos Aires, just after Argentina's economic crisis in December 2001. As Manguel's reading overlaps with jotted observations of Buenos Aires, he reflects on the meaning of homeland, and on memory. Nostalgia and the significance of cities—in personal and literary terms—are themes that preoccupy Manguel on further trips to London, Paris, Germany and Canada."

Shallow thoughts (which I'm really tired of doing, but all of the paragraphs keep blurring together otherwise):

  • I have mixed feelings about today's book (didn't I just say that about yesterday's book as well?) - I enjoyed the writing style, but thought that book was quite boring in some places. Plus, the author is a book snob who has this to say about those who don't read the works of Bioy Casares, "The ignorance of the English-speaking reader never ceases to amaze me." - There are few things that annoy me more than book snobs who try to decide what other people should be reading.

  • The author then goes on to say something that didn't annoy me, which was a relief because the book snob moment was still bugging me, "Fellow enthusiasts, jacket blurbs, teachers and histories of literature destroy much of our reading pleasure by ratting out the plot. And, as one grows older, memory, too, can spoil much of the pleasure of being ignorant of what will happen next." - For once Mr. Author and I agree on something. I don't like it when too much of the plot is given away either - although I have discovered the hard way, throughout this year, that writing about a book without giving away too much is very difficult and generally results in me barely talking about the book at all. The second part of the author's statement - about memory spoiling the fun - has never been a problem for me. Having the memory of a gnat can come in handy sometimes. I can love a book and read it multiple times, and every time it feels like the first time I'm reading it, but with the added bonus of knowing for sure that I'm going to love the book. So the lesson her dear readers is, don't take your ginkgo in the morning, because having a horrible memory can be fun!!

  • Favorite sentence, "People seem to live here in a state of mad optimism." - Just like the Brady Bunch - of course, why wouldn't the Brady's be happy when the biggest problems they ever have are figuring out how to glue their ugly vases back together again and trying to decide what to do with their trading stamps? Okay, I will confess dear readers, I didn't particularly enjoy that sentence, I just wanted an excuse to talk about The Brady Bunch. I have been making a concerted effort lately to not mention TV in my blog entries more than once or twice (or three times) a week, and now I think I've reached the breaking point. MUST. TALK. ABOUT. TV. I can't hold it in much longer. So, to make up for not having talked about it as much lately, let me ask you dear readers, don't you think Bobby on Dallas is just a little bit obnoxious? I mean, I know he's supposed to be the good guy and all, but I just don't see it.

  • I didn't care for most of the books the author read, except for The Wind in the Willows. I'm such a huge dork that I actually find it exciting when I'm reading a book and the author mentions having read a book that I've read. Which means that I really should stop mocking my parents for getting excited every time the people on TV have the same lamp, or umbrella, or tennis shoes that they have. Although I still feel kind of okay about mocking them about it because at least I don't feel the need to let everyone in the room know that the book I'm reading mentions that other book, whereas my parents will pause the DVR so that they can force everyone within a five mile radius to look, while exclaiming, "LOOK. LOOK. The people on TV have the same lamp that we have." If I was a better person I would pretend to be excited by that, but instead I usually say, "Yah. So. What's your point?" Perhaps I should make that one of my New Years resolutions: Pretend to humor parents because it's the nice thing to do.