Saturday, December 29, 2007

Friday, December 28, 2007

Out of reading material

I seem to have run out of light reading material. Just having re-read Brothers Karamazov over Christmas, I no longer have any books that I can merely sit down and read. Of course, I have my books that I am working through for various reasons, but nothing for mere enjoyment. I recently took up the idea of reading the Bible cover-to-cover once more to consolidate my knowledge of it and to make sure I've gone through it all, recalling the example of a Protestant blowhard from days of yore on some other internet site. He was a bitter ex-Catholic who would go on long expositional tirades, heavy on direct quoting of Scripture, light on interpretation, but what interpretation there was was pretty wild. It came to pass that he revealed that, not only had he not read the entire Bible, but that there were significant gaps in his reading and that his absurd habit of quoting came from the fact that he could easily search, cut, and paste using this one Bible web site. While, of course, I could indeed say that I had read the whole thing, it really is to my shame that, for all we cared, I might as well have been in the same boat as him. Anyway! That is neither here nor there: the important thing is that now I seem to have an intense awareness of just how often Og, king of Bashan, is mentioned in the Old Testament. I also laboriously read through wise books written for wicked men who desire not to be such anymore (and, hopefully, take the advice to heart). The only things it seems I have around besides these are 60's works on Catholic liturgical reform and novels I've either read too recently or novels I don't want to read. Everything else is simply not suited to light reading (unless I really do feel like cracking open The Exact Sciences in Antiquity again, but that part of my life is long past).

Accordingly, using my various bookstore gift certificates obtained during the holiday season, I ordered several Russian novels to work through. I plan on re-acquainting myself with 19th century Russian literature and then plowing through the Soviet era. However, I would like to take suggestions for future thematic reading projects and possible syllabi. Probably 3000 pages would be the most I could stand to pay attention for at the moment, though I could certainly go into more depth later.

FYI, here are the books I'm planning on reading now, with more additions when I finish these depending on what trajectory I want to take. Some have been read before, but I felt the need to reread, others have been left off because I did not feel the need to reread (most notably, Anna Karenina, Crime and Punishment, and Fathers and Sons).

1. Brothers Karamazov - Just finished.
2. Tales of Belkin and other prose writings by Pushkin.
3. The Golovlyov Family by Shchedrin.
4. A Hero of Our Time by Lermontov.
5. Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk by Leskov.
6. Oblomov by Goncharov.
7. Dead Souls by Gogol.
8. The Complete Short Novels of Chekhov.

I shall also probably check out the new Pevear and Volokhonsky War and Peace, but that would be quite an investment. There may be a film component, as well, since Wajda did Siberian Lady Macbeth and somebody else did Oblomov, so I may as well watch after reading the novels.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

So this is Christmas.

I was going to produce another encyclical on how to be awesome (as I have done on numerous occasions in the past), but it is Christmas on certain degenerate calendars, so we can all be awesome today even if we do make certain mistakes. Very well: merry Christmas, to those of you who celebrate it today (including me)! Christ is born! To those of you who don't celebrate Christmas at all, you can get the hell off of this web-log.