Here’s a list of books I’ve read so far in 2009:
1. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
2. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs
3. An Anecdoted Topography of Chance by Daniel Spoerri et al
4. The Lazarus Project by Aleksandar Hemon
5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
6. Studies in Classic American Literature by D.H. Lawrence
7. Remainder by Tom McCarthy
8. The Pit: A Story of Chicago by Frank Norris
9. The Order of Things by Michel Foucault
10. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
Not bad for one month, but really it just makes me wish I could get away from Orals List reading long enough to crack open 2666, which is now looming imperiously over my bed. Unfortunately, non-school-related reading of that magnitude is not going to happen until mid-March. By that time, though, the English translation of The Kindly Ones will finally be available as well, and I can rip through two massive, depressing novels as a reward. Or I’ll fail my oral exams, and I can rip through two massive, depressing novels as an act of self-flagellation. Whichever.
Also, here’s a picture of Paul McCartney for you to cry to.
Via Progress Report’s truly fine interview with the Wrens.
My flight for Israel leaves later tonight. I’m going to try to post about the trip every day, but we’ll see what happens. Obviously I’m not the most diligent blogger, but I anticipate having lots to say. So.
A couple of hours ago, I finally voted for Barack Obama. New York’s voting booths are nice because you finalize your decision by pulling a lever that gives a satisfying and weighty THUNK.
I assume this is what depositing my dissertation will feel like – highly anticipated, but ultimately a small-seeming event after all of the work that led up to it.
Receiving a link to this thread on Stormfront White Nationalist Community message board (NSFW, unless you work for racists or are this guy) from my “transhumanism ” Google Alert was the highlight of my afternoon. The Aryan Transhumanist: proof that a super race of super assholes is possible.
Weirdly, not ten minutes ago I was reading Francis Fukuyama’s Our Posthuman Future. Though a lot of Fukuyama’s claims make me nervous, he doesn’t make me half as nervous as some transhumanists. Straight-up white supremacists tend not to make me nervous at all (unless I actually meet them face to face) because my cultural optimism (Obamaptimism?) is such that I think their views will never again acquire the kind of currency they used to have (what kind of sub rosa currency they still have, though, is a different story). While crazy, transhumanism in its strong form is not racist, but it does share some features (misreadings of evolutionary theory, utopian hopes posited on wing-and-a-prayer cocktail napkin calculations, core beliefs whose sustainability strains common sense) that could render it appealing to those whose political affiliations it would probably shun.
Last night I dreamt about showing up to class all prepared to teach The Big Sleep, while all of my students had read Roberto Bolano’s The Savage Detectives. I just finished teaching the former novel last week, while the latter (along with Nazi Literature in the Americas) has been at the top of my “to read” list for about six months. Orals reading has made the prospects of tackling a 600+ page novel daunting, but today I started it anyway.