Thursday, October 10, 2013

Dewey's Read-a-thon 2013

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon is coming up on Saturday, so I'm going to participate again (to the best of my ability--I tend not to be an up-all-night kinda person).  I'm going to have to make a virtue of necessity this year and read some books that I need to work on for... work.

So my plan is, to try to make some more headway on Don DeLillo's Underworld.  I'm thinking of using it for a conference presentation I might like to make next spring, and I'm about halfway through.

Related to that, I started re-reading Dickens' Our Mutual Friend.  This is actually my favorite Dickens novel, so I suspect I won't have much trouble working on that all day.

I have an article that I've been advised to revise and resubmit, and as part of the revision process, they suggested I read Melville's The Confidence-Man.  When I mentioned this to friends who are familiar with the novel, they looked at me with sympathy.  

One friend said, "It's quite long."  I said, "It's only about 165 pages," to which she replied, "It's quite long."

But I need to do it, and this is a good time to do so.  So I'll try.  

If it's like Pierre (which I was never able to finish... or even get very far in), I may want to hang myself.  But I have the other novels to turn to, so I should survive.

I've also become interested in "discard studies" or, in plain English, the anthropology of garbage.  

Seriously, this a field of academic inquiry, and it's actually rather interesting.  (Really.)  A culture's attitude towards garbage and waste disposal can actually tell you a lot about the society at large

I'm hoping to do a blog post in the next day or two to convince the skeptical. 

So, in that vein, I've been reading Edward Humes' Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash.  It's actually very interesting and totally disturbing, and Humes is a really good writer.  

So I may talk trash during the Read-a-thon.  (I'm not like the other girls.) 

Speaking of which, I'm also still working on Elaine Feinstein's Anna of All the Russias, which is a well-written biography of the Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, as well as Schweik's history, The Ugly Laws (which will also tie into my article on Melville, oddly enough).

So these are my fallback positions.  I'm going to try to have a solid day of good reading, whether or not I can make it the full 24 hours.  It's drizzly and dreary in the Northeast right now, and will be for a while so... what better weather for reading?

The only down side is, I don't have anything "light" to read, so I'm going to see if I can find something that fits that category, to give my brain a break from time to time.

But otherwise, I'm ready to read.  Bring it.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."