I guess I don’t need my reading list to be public, but I’m fairly convinced no one reads these posts anyway. That said, I’m tired of keeping so many files on my harddrive, so I figured this is a good alternative. I’ll be adding these as I go (unlike last year, when I posted about my reading for the year in August), so I’ll also include short reviews/summaries. I may go back and do the same for some of the books I read last year. Here goes:
Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney – I like slim books. This one clocks in at 182 pages. This is McInerney’s first novel, from 1984. It takes place in New York City and features lots of cocaine (as any book set in New York in the 80s should). It is written entirely in the second person and somehow this is not at all annoying to read. The main character (a ‘you’ who is definitely not you) works in The Department of Factual Verification for an unnamed but prestigious magazine. He is a married to a model. He is 24. We learn very quickly that his model wife has left him with a phone call, after which he doesn’t see her again for quite a few months. During the course of the book, his life spirals out of control. He parties more and more, does lots of cocaine, hides the fact that his wife has left him, loses his job… And yet he doesn’t seem like a total asshole. This could be any 24-year-old guy who took a wrong turn. Thing is, it turns out his life isn’t spiralling for the reason the reader is led to believe. I don’t really like authorial tricks like that. Had we known sooner, had McInerney taken the time to create layers within the story early on, it would have made the read meatier. Regardless, it was a quick and worthwhile read.
So on to my next read. I picked up Infinite Jest by Steven Foster Wallace again today after a long hiatus. I’m at page 187. The book is clearly a work of genius, but it’s just not holding my attention. Even if it wasn’t over a thousand pages (with footnotes), I wouldn’t feel very motivated to finish it. I’m not convinced I haven’t already gotten everything out of it that I can. Even though I’m starting to embrace the idea that time is not linear, I don’t like feeling my time would be better or more enjoyably spent doing something else. I want to do what I want to do because I’m 35 goddammit and I want to make the most of this stupid thing called life. I’ll likely switch to Winter Journal by Paul Auster or M Train by Patti Smith.