Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A goodly house: the feast smells well;

I've nearly finished my 37th book, The Sportswriter, with only a few dozen pages left.  I'm still not sure what I think of it as a book.  There are times when I'm mesmerized and can't put it down, and there are times I find it drags a little.  But all in all, it's one I'm enjoying, even though it doesn't really have anything to do with sports.

It has also provided me with two links to other books on The List, which for some reason I find really interesting.  I don't know why, but it seems odd or funny to me, that a book from a list of great books, would mention other books from the same list.  It first happened in The Corrections, when one of the characters was reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  In The Sportswriter, Frank, the protagonist, is asked how long it has been since he read The Sun Also Rises.  He doesn't recall, but figures it's probably been quite some time.  For me, I read it last September, #17 on my list.  Later on in the novel, Frank is listening to the radio, where a feminist announcer is reading dirty passages from Tropic of Cancer, my 10th read. If I had never read this book, I wouldn't really know what he was talking about.  I suppose, in a way, I can thank The List for making me a little smarter.  Or maybe just a little more aware.

A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition
While reading The Sportswriter I have also continued my plan of reading a non-fiction book at the same time.  Yesterday, I was able to finish A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway.  Another book that mentions The Sun Also Rises, but I guess that's to be expected.  The book is really an account of Hemingway's time in Paris in the mid-20's while he was working as a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Star Weekly.

Really, this book reads just like one of Hemingway's novels with short, too-the-point dialogue, and limited descriptions about settings or surroundings.  Hemingway talks about his experiences in Paris, being what he describes as 'very poor and very happy.'  He talks of the people he spent time with, most notably Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound and F. Scott Fitzgerald.  It is the chapters about Fitzgerald I found particularly interesting.  Hemingway really paints an almost pathetic picture of the writer.  He describes him as a drunk and a  hypochondriac, who has very little self esteem and is basically an all-around helpless human being.  I think of The Great Gatsby and how it is received today and wonder how somebody like the man Hemingway describes, could write such a masterpiece.

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