Just a few notes on some things before I doze off … I’ve just come back from a day in New York City with Emily and other friends; I will certainly tell you more about it soon.
- I finished listening to Tobias Wolff’s Old School on audiobook, and I liked it all the way through (I posted on the first half here). It was a little like a male version of Prep, but a lot shorter and more elegant, and much more about books and writing. The novel’s ending went off in a direction I didn’t expect, which, of course, I won’t talk about in detail here, but I did like it. I must read more Wolff; I’ve read This Boy’s Life already and enjoyed it a lot.
- Speaking of Emily, she was kind enough to get me a copy of Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz as a birthday present (thus extending my birthday even longer, which is always fun). She gave it to the Hobgoblin when they met with their writing group with instructions to bring it home to me — don’t you all wish you had Emily living so close by to you? I’m thinking I’ll read it this year as part of the Reading Across Borders challenge.
- I’m about halfway through The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud and so far so good. I do like reading novels set in New York City. I’ve spend a decent amount of time there, enough to get to know parts of it and to get a feel for the culture (or some of the cultures, I should say), and it’s a pleasure to recognize things. Messud’s characters strike me as quite realistic NYC types I’ve known or known of.
- From Boswell, here’s a Samuel Johnson quotation: “Idleness is a disease which must be combated; but I would not advise a rigid adherence to a particular plan of study. I myself have never persisted in any plan for two days together. A man ought to read just as inclination leads him; for what he reads as a task will do him little good. A young man should read five hours in a day, and so may acquire a great deal of knowledge.” (You can look forward to months of posts with Johnson quotations … I think it’s fair to warn you.)