one thing leads to another: part two

Right around this time last year, there was much internet wailing and nashing of teeth because some author who I’d never heard about killed himself.

Normally, I wouldn’t have cared much, but some of the wailing and nashing was being performed by friends of mine whose opinions of on things literary I’ve come to respect, so I allowed myself to believe that maybe there was something to this David Foster Wallace guy, but since I’m not the type to read books that are considered “literature”, I’d probably never really know what the big deal was.  I mean, his most famous work is a ridiculous 1000+ page (plus endnotes!) opus, that mocks the reader with it’s title and has defeated more attempts to read it than Pynchon and his god-damned rainbow1.

Fast forward to this spring — the letters DFW are showing up on my RSS feeds again.  The plan is to read the opus over the course of astronomical summer. There is a schedule. There are forums. There’s even a Ravelry group. The book, which is an unreasonable 9×6x2 inches in paperback2 is available for a reasonable price (under $10) on Kindle.  I like to read things in the summer, there’s peer pressure. So I dip my toes into the Infinite Summer waters.

And I like it. A lot. I can’t speak to it’s literary worth, but I can say that at 89% through it’s been both challenging and fulfilling. Funny and profane and sad and profound. And lots of other good words too.

So anyways, my favourite character (Michael Pemulis, for anyone who is reading, but doesn’t know me well enough to see why this would obviously be true) in a recent footnote dons a t-shirt that supposedly says (in russian): “Vodka is the Enemy of Production”. With a menacing looking glyph of a bottle.

I feel a deep need to own such a shirt.

Which leads me to Google. Which leads me to this gallery of soviet anti-alcohol propaganda posters. Which leads to me to determine that the decor of my basement bar (when it ever comes to fruition) needs to feature these posters heavily-to-exclusively.  Because they are amazing — even when you don’t know what they mean.

alko11alko01

Still no luck on the shirt, though.

1No… I’m not bitter about my inability to finish Gravity’s Rainbow… not at all.

2Seriously, there’s no way I would have read this book if I had to carry it everywhere.

the single least user-friendly aspect of reading books on a kindle?

Having to explain what it is all the time. It’s to the point where I hesitate to bring it out in public because I know I’ll get interrupted every other page by someone asking “hey! what’s that?!”. People? Hello! I’m reading this book so that I _don’t_ have to interact with you, not so that I can give you an impromptu product demonstration. Amazon has people to do that for you, you know?

Honestly, if you are so technologically illiterate that you don’t know what an e-book reader is, you probably don’t want one. If you do know what it is, then you know that I’m probably reading something, and therefore am not really looking to strike up a conversation.

Oh, and if you know me IRL, don’t worry, I don’t mind showing off my toys to my friends, and if I’m hanging out with you, chances are I’m not all that embroiled in reading something so feel free to ask away. I only use my reading as a forcefield against strangers.

and then hagrid gave harry a scrapbook.

I solved my Harry Potter dilemma by getting the bastardizedamericanized version from the library, this way, I’m not financially supporting Scholastica’s mission to cater to the lowest common denominator.

I had planned to pick up the book on Sunday, but I ended up plague-ridden and barely able to leave my room, let alone the house, so I ended up waiting until Monday (when I was still too out of it to work, but I felt safe enough driving to Target Clinic and the library).
I finished it last night, and, well, I can’t say that I regret my decision to avoid the book when the first hysteria about it started. It’s a cute story of course; there’s magic and dragons and the boys think girls are icky and naturally the children are all underestimated by the adults, but honestly I don’t understand what the big deal is/was. I’ve been told that it gets better, that “the books grow with the children” and become more engaging, but I don’t understand why, back in 1997-98, everyone was so excited.

I’m reading the books according to this schedule, just to keep me on track. It’s obvious to me that I won’t be able to participate in the discussions, due to hella-spoilers (nccneragyl, fancr qvrf? jgs? ur’f zl snibevgr*). I’m glad that I also happened to wander by the Heinlein shelf while I was at the library, because I picked up a copy of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress so that I can turn to Lazarus Long for a little stimulation when the next Defense against the Dark Arts teacher does something foolish.

For now though, I should get back to work, and continue to convince myself that buying this with the money that I’ve got set aside for my Wii is not a good idea.

*don’t speak ROT13? click here