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2011 will be the year of excessive reading. I’ve found it so, so hard to read properly since graduating. From reading like four books a week, I have now been going at the same novel for five months. Five months! To my defense, I have been working a lot, and I have been reading other stuff (erm, like the Internet). Nonetheless, it is just plain wrong. I can’t even look at my bookshelves; all the unread books stress me out.

Clearly, it can’t go on like this any longer. So, I thought I’d tag along on one of these many reading challenges that are going on at the moment. And as all good things come in threes, I thought I better do three of them.

I find the American South endlessly fascinating as a dramatic setting and I love Tennessee Williams and should really give Mockingbird a rest and explore new territory. So, I’ll have a glass of sweet iced tea and read Faulkner, Chopin and Margaret Mitchell (because, even though I might possibly, once or twice, have implied to have done so, I have never actually read Gone with the Wind) for the Southern Literature Challenge.

As I have a soft spot for the Irish I am also set on reading Oliver Goldsmith, John Banville and Elizabeth Bowen (and hopefully find inspiration for a fourth along the way) for the Ireland Reading Challenge.

Last, but not least, will be my own baby: The Decedent Reading Challenge. I’m thinking Theophile Gautier, Octave Mirbeau, probably some poetry and perhaps, as icing on the cake, a masked ball at The Last Tuesday Society (because one must give one’s body pleasure so that one’s soul is happy there).
Fingers crossed, this will work!

Hello dear blog, do you think someone timed our tutorial week with the Winter Olympics on purpose? Like someone actually wants me to fail? No of course not, but pretty typical huh? It is also at times like these that one grieves that one is not in one’s Home Country. Here, no one seems to be particularly interested in what goes on in Vancouver. Except the sports that aren’t really sports at all, like luge and ski jump (it’s funny how TV here tries to sell the winter games trough brain scans of head injuries). I am trying not to get too caught up in it, or in anything else except school work. It’s going…uhm, not so well.

On the reading front I have just finished If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller, which is the kind of book I used to love. I think Calvino might even have played a tiny part in my decision to do an English degree (actually, that’s a complete lie. I don’t think there ever was a decision being made about that. If there was, I sure wasn’t there when it happened). Reading it now, again, makes me realise how much I have changed as a reader. Gone is the curiosity, the naïveté, the wish to be impressed by the book. Now I’m critical, judgemental and trying more to impress myself and others with my reading. What used to be an intimate relationship between a book and a reader, quietly seated opposite each other, is now a chaotic dance party where both the book and the reader is drowning in loud beats and overwhelming commotion. It’s a crowded dance with contexts Historical, Cultural and Political. Arrhythmical shouts of recommended readings, essay-questions, course-criteria and grade requirements fill the air around us. Deconstruct relatively, psychoanalyse pragmatically, romanticise inconsistently, all of us are raving uncontrollably. Think, don’t think, think again, respond, react, compare, contrast, extract value, apply value. Don’t let stylistic flair deceive you, always be critical. But hey now, wait a minute. What if I want to be deceived, to be tricked, to be fooled? All this criticism, bordering on scepticism, bordering on destructivism.  I don’t want to hear of narrative techniques, gender biases or underlying sexual repression. Ignorance is bliss. Leave me and my book alone.

Walter Crane Such sights as youthful poets dreams

(It is such sights I want to dream of also, regardless of the poet being gay, or mad, or antisemitic. I want to be able to see such scenes mirrored in the glassy lake without Jakobson or Lacan splashing around the water to ruin its effect by explaining how the effect is achieved. I want…actually, now I started picturing Freud hopping around that lake, pretty funny. Ok, Freud is allowed for comedy value only.)

on twitter

  • RT @artinsociety: Albrecht Dürer died #OTD 1528, almost 500 years ago, but his studies of animals and bugs live on ~ here’s his finely-obse… 10 months ago
  • RT @TheSyriaCmpgn: These photos show the devastating conditions Syrian refugees are facing in Lebanon after a brutal storm left their tents… 1 year ago
  • RT @jeremycorbyn: I, Daniel Blake will be shown on TV for the first time, tonight at 9.45pm on BBC 2. It shows the human cost of this Tory… 1 year ago


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mimi harcourt