Friday, 2 November 2007

Dropping Balls

Being a man, I'm not genetically predisposed to multi tasking. It makes me dizzy. Miche on the other hand, is a seasoned pro. Take this morning for example - whilst I was engrossed in helping Meg with her weekly spelling test, Miche was ironing school uniforms, texting her girlfriends whilst keeping an eye on the toast. Quite awesome really.

My problem is this; the rate at which I acquire books far exceeds my ability to consume them. We have book cases in the dining room, each bedroom, the hall and landing. I have a pile of them at the side of my bed that extends at least two feet under it.

Being a man, I should really only read one at a time, because I may very well disappear up my own arse if I take on more than that.

Not one to take one's own advice, I find myself with five on the go at the moment. To manage this burden, I've compartmentalised my reading into rooms. It goes like this;

Lounge: Family Matters, Rohinton Mistry

A wonderful, lyrical exploration of family life and of growing old. I'm reading this book in the same way that I read Cider with Rosie as an adolescent - tasting each sentence.

50% through. 4 / 5. -1 because there's too many characters, which confuses me.

Downstairs Toilet: Beyond Good and Evil, Friedrich Nietzsche

Amidst the various clenchings of pelvic muscles, I like to flex the cerebral. Nietzsche has been a toilet companion of mine for many years now. Perhaps this says as much about Friedrich as it does me; in that we both like to talk shite from time to time. Having said that, and in doing so, I'm reminded of my teenage philosophical debates when our pretentions got the better of us. We evoked Nietzsche as if we truly understood his 'philosophy'. Of course we didn't. Neither do I now, to be honest. But he helps me 'work things out'.

I'm now on my 4th read I think. 30% through. 4.5 / 5. -.5 for the odd punctuation.

Office / Office toilet: Inside Lives: Psychoanalysis and the Growth of the Personality, Margot Wadell

Perhaps there's a running theme here - toilets. There is something 'spiritual' about squeezing one out.

Now, I'm an empiricist at heart in my work. I like to focus on what is proven and what is shown to work. Which is why I don't subscribe to psychodynamic thought. That said, the metaphorical / interpretative approach that Margot describes attracts me. There is some truth in it, I'm sure.

I'm reading this book in 5 minute bursts right now, yet still I'm enjoying it. Perhaps I'll become a neo-freudian one day.

25% through. 3.7 / 5. Well written, though my fundamental differences in thought spoil it for me. Worth persevering though, for it's thought provoking stuff.

Upstairs Toilet: Is it just me, or is everything Shit? Volume Two, Steve Lowe

The perfect book for any British, middle class, white, middle income, middle aged, middle IQ, male misanthrope; a brief, hilarious and disgusting comment on what it is to be all of the above in modern times. Just long enough to read before the kids disturb you.

75% through. 5/5. For its ease of use and simplistic hilarity.

Bedroom: Meanwhile back at the ranch, Kinky Friedman

I love Kinky as he makes me laugh. This is a short book and I can see the end coming a mile off. I don't want to finish it, as he gives me a chortle at least every second sentence. And what better way to finish a day than with hilarity?

80% through - soo nearly there. 4 / 5.


Anyway, tell me - what is your critical mass when it comes to reading? How many books can you manage at once?

I've bitten off more than I can chew - two is my limit. Given that which one should I finish first and devote my time to, do you think?


Stew said...

I normally have 2 on the go.

This is because I can never remember where I put anything. So I'll put one book down, and later, when I can't find it, I'll have to start another.

I've JUST finished "Claire de la Lune" by Dean Koontz. I don't know what the original English title is. It had a great plot vehicle about mind altering nanobots (ref: Descartes Skin), but a weak ending.

I'm 1/3 thru Terry Pratchett "Les Sorcieres" which would be "The Witches", but again, I can't guarantee that English Title.

I will shortly attack "Les Raisins de Colere" by Steinbeck. I adore Steinbeck. I've read a lot of his stuff originally in English and I've read Cannery Row, Sweet Thursday, Tortilla Flats & Mice & Men in french, and they lost nothing in the translation. Superb.

Holly said...

Grad school warps a person - I sometimes have as many as 20 on the go at any particular time, but usually around 7 - some of which I have actually been reading for months.

And I am so jealous of you getting to see Bauman!

jamon said...

See, that's my point made. You're a girl Holly therefore you can manage seven books at a time.

20 is a little excessive mind, even for a lass ;)

jamon said...

Stew - I'll get that Koontz book from my mum - she reads them all - will be good research.

I'm really jealous of your ability to appreciate literature in a different language. I can speak and read simple French - but to get a notion of style & structure? Not a chance.

Tell me, do you think in French, or do you translate into English on the fly?

slut said...

I can only manage 3-4 at a time, and that gets to be a stretch. If I have too many going, I tend to lose at least one and by the time I come back to it, I've forgotten what was going on and who the characters are.

Anonymous said...

I read only two at a time usually, both always kept in the car. I spend too much down time in the car waiting for and driving the children around town. Currently: "Love in the TIme of Cholera" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and "Three Cups of Tea" by? (I forget his name, he's the mountineer that spendt his life building schools in Afganistan and surrounding areas.)

jamon said...

Greg Mortenson - that's him. Another book added to my to read list.

I'm not sure whether to thank you for that!

Christy Lenzi said...

I think you should finish the IS IT JUST ME book first because you're almost done and you like it the most.

I usually read one book at a time, or two if the second is non-fiction. I will not finish a novel I don't get sucked into--I have too little reading time to waste on novels I don't enjoy.

I mostly read middle-grade or young adult novels because that's what I write. I just finished THE ASTONISHING LIFE OF OCTAVIAN NOTHING by M.T. Anderson and was reading PARENTING BEYOND BELIEF as well. I was just given two new books and can't decide which to read first. Maybe you can help *me*, now...

Anonymous said...

Christy- I read a lot of the teen books of my daughter. My fav so far would be Coraline by Neil Gaiman. Such great imagery!

Anonymous said...

Is there a new person among us? Welcome Slut! (tho I do feel weird calling someone that.) We all invite ourselves over to Jamon's page because, frankly, he updates the most, lol. (I'm just a lazy slob that enjoys the interaction but can't be bothered to write something myself most days...)

jamon said...

Shall I put the kettle on?

The Grocer said...

My five year old would agree about the toilet being an important place, we seem to have all our best conversations there. As for books I'm afraid I can only manage 2-3 at a time, yes a lightweight, at the moment Im just finsihing 'Queuing for Beginners' and part way through 'On the Road - the original scroll' by Jack Kerouac.

jamon said...

Hi Grocer, can I have some of your tapinade?

Nice to have a neighbour drop by ;)

Holly said...

I have a strict no books in the toilet rule. Not at all germ phobic, I assure you. Murph has to smuggle his in.

Christy Lenzi said...

Stew, my daughter is reading a Terry Pratchett book right now called WITCHES ABROAD. She just finished THE WEIRD SISTERS and loved it. She's quite the Pratchett fan.

Metalk, have you read the new INTERWORLD by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves? (I haven't), but I hear it's based on Gaiman and Reave's idea for a sci-fi/fantasy television show that never took off.

Christy Lenzi said...

Umm, who has time to read in the bathroom?

jamon said...

Christy - I make time to read in the bathroom. They're the only rooms you can guarantee some peace in.

I have a paperback only rule in the bathroom Holly, we have a number of blown out hardbacks that made me assert my authority in the household.

Authority? Pah? Not that anyone takes notice.

Stew said...

Christy - The Weird Sisters, that's the one I'm in now, called simply Les Sorcieres in french ie: The Witches.

MeTalkPretty, I really enjoyed Love in the Time of Cholera and also Nobody Talks to the Colonel

Jamon - It's a bit of both, depending on how complex the prose and vocabulary is. I find reading dialog excellent for picking up colloquial phrases: eg. "the least of my worries" is not "le moindre de mes soucies" as i'd expect but "le cadet de mes soucis" cadet normally means youngest child, or younger sibling.