Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Books are sometimes hard

I have several books that I've tried reading over the last few years but just can't make it over the beginning hump. Gravity's Rainbow is the worst one for me. I've started that thing at least two or three times but I can't make it past the first quarter. I've also started David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest and just been unable to push on through. I will try both of these again, but when this happens, I feel sad and dumb.

I enjoy reading but I'm seldom looking for (or seeing) a deeper meaning or theme. I like a good story and these books make me feel like I'm not smart enough to get it.

So I've been reading a fair amount of Chuck Klosterman lately. Eating the Dinosaur is remarkably current and I very much enjoyed it. Sex, Drugs and Coco Puffs didn't quite do it for me. None of the topics were very near to me so it didn't resonate. I'm on to IV and it's really quite fabulous.

One essay/article/piece has been especially captivating for me over the last few days. He writes about his experience on a Styx/REO Speedwagon/Journey themed cruise. It reminds me of an article I read a few years ago about a similar Barenaked Ladies themed cruise. It got me wondering...

Twenty years from now, which current bands are going to be playing at suburban casinos and hosting themed cruises? Is my future self going to be interested in something like that? What band would force me to take part in something like this? What's the next frontier for washed up musicians?

Anyhow, in Klosterman's essay he references a David Foster Wallace essay about a week-long cruise. I just finished reading it. It's so oddly descriptive. It's an amazing(ly long) read. It also makes me imagine David Foster Wallace on a cruise, holed up in his room, standing in strange places observing everybody, just being an all-around pale skinned weirdo. I think that if one had encountered him in real life he would have come across as a person too strange to befriend. Like the weird guy in your high school that didn't talk to anybody, wore lots of black and spent most of his time writing in his notebook (actually, I was pretty good friends with a guy like this. He didn't wear black though). It's a shame, really.

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