Monday, February 06, 2006

The reading list

You know how you feel like an idiot sometimes? Often? All the time? I get a sense from nearly every human being around me (at least those not listening to Jenna Jameson pleasure herself on XM Satellite Radio) that they've read the canon of Anglo-Saxon literature. And I haven't. I haven't read a fucking thing.

Maybe I've read Judy-fucking-Blume, or some other facile shit like that, but I haven't tackled Faulkner. I haven't read Jude the Obscure. Never touched Herman Melville. Didn't get near Edith Wharton. Couldn't be bothered to check up on Joyce, Wilde, Pynchon, Roth, or Marlowe.

Catch-22? Yawn. Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail? Nyet. Catcher in the Rye? Respectfully not, sir.

I managed to skate through college -- as a fucking English major, mind you -- without accidentally getting any "book" on me. I paid money for a Norton anthology... maybe looked at Welty's A Good Man is Hard to Find, but took a raincheck when it came time to read Francois Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel. Same for The Letters of Abelard and Heloise.

I don't even know if I cracked the binding of Augustine's Confessions before I sold it back to school bookstore for "Street Fighter Turbo" quarters.

Things could have gone better back in the ’90s, I'm thinking. But it's not like I'm hungrily grasping for a copy of Infinite Jest or any DeLillo to make up for it.

Jackass -- pick up a fucking "New Yorker" or something.