Monday, September 30, 2019

"The Buckshot Use of the Curved Question"

That would include me; depending on how you define "in part."  I've read at several books, started more than a few novels, but none of it sticks with me at the moment or reminds me I "read a book" in the past 12 months.

Of course, I've read one helluva lot of books in my lifetime, and I find myself slowing down immensely of late.  Like TV crime shows or medical shows or any TV drama, for that matter, everything has the same pattern and the same conclusion, or a lame gimmick in lieu of real insight into the human condition (Frankenstein's monster now is an excuse for lurid violence; vampires for soft-core porn or, more likely, grotesque violence).  In other words:  been there, done that.

And new insights into things I'm interested in, matters philosophical or theological?  Don't find a lot of that, either.  For example, I plucked Gustavo Gutierrez' The Truth Shall Make You Free off the bookshelf and started reading where it fell open, a point I'd apparently read before because I'd marked a passage or two. Good, solid, Jesuitical thinking about liberation theology. I read it again with renewed interest from that point, about mid-way through the book.  It kept my attention for days, when I could get back to it.  Then the vein of gold petered out, and I lost interest.  I may finish the whole book someday; then again, maybe not.  Maybe I'm old and my brain is tired; or maybe the world is stupid, and I've sucked dry all the good thinking there is to be had.

Mostly I think it's the latter, but believe in my heart of hearts it's the former.

Still, numbers don't begin to tell any tales.


  1. You could say that when you've read 10 books, you're more likely to remember the 11th one you read. When you've read 1000 books, you're less likely to remember the 1001st one. Especially if you go on to read a few hundred more. I can tell you about the first time I sat down at a piano, I remember it like it was. . . well, longer ago than yesterday. I can't tell you what I was playing in January without really thinking about it.

  2. Yeah, I have vivid memories of the books I read in elementary school (especially one about a kingdom of giant ants deep in "darkest Africa" as it was still known then, ruled over by an even larger giant frog. You can't make this stuff up, only remember it.). I remember books I read there, in junior high at that school library (a history of music, for one. Huge thick thing; don't remember anything about it now, but that.), and all the books I read at the downtown Carnegie Library (I still hold a warm place for Andrew J. over that).

    But the last two books I read? Eh.