Read a book!
Back in April Jason and I came up with a list of books to read before the end of the year and I've been happily turning virtual pages on my iPad ever since. We named our book club Somewhat Erudite and I started a Facebook group page to occasionally share progress, quotes, and notes.
Somewhat Erudite has become a book club of one member as Jason didn't last long—he quit a couple of chapters into The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. I don't know how he couldn't finish, it is a delight and full of timeless wisdom. The #2 book Herzog by Saul Bellow kept me laughing and marveling and Bellow's skills—he writes with incredible confidence. The novel is so male, neurotic, and New York. I read The Stranger, #3, in college and it coincided nicely with my short-lived Goth phase. The new "American" translation I read this time around dramatically changes the tone of the book by altering the famous opening line. I am still thinking about this and what a shift it was from my first read. (A really good read in The New Yorker about this change here.) On the Road is another title I had previously read but reading it now was just as fresh as when I was a kid. Kerouac loves people—he is so open to and intrigued by the characters he meets. I particularly loved the parts that take place in San Francisco and New Orleans with the intense details of music, food, smells. The transition from book #4 to #5's To Kill a Mockingbird was surprisingly easy—America! Both are commenting and celebrating the country. It was nice to hear a woman's voice while reading after all those men in the first four books. I tried to slow myself down and savor every word, but I found myself unable to set a leisurely pace and read the book in a 24 hour period. It is a treasure. And now, I'm listening to a completely different voice: Lucky Jim is funny, strange and highly enjoyable, again very male, but so British.
That's the sum up so far.
All of the Somewhat Erudite books have been incredibly satisfying to read. I'm enjoying the discipline of going in order and the pressure to get through the list before the end of the year. Next up, #7's Gravity's Rainbow is making me a bit nervous—750+ pages!
For some insight on the goofy way we decided on these 15 books, read my previous post: A Fresh reading list (of old titles).
And as for the book club's name:
"He wasn't bashful about showing himself to be feverishly erudite, … terminally droll, and a wizard phrasemaker." —Susan Sontag, New Yorker, 18 & 25 June 2001. This wonderful quote found on Merriam-Webster.com's definition of erudite.