I was fishing this weekend. I don’t fish. The last time I fished was 22 years ago, and it was the only time. Not surprisingly, I didn’t catch a thing, except for the Steinbeck bug.
So I’m in this pontoon boat and I’ve been fishing for a few hours. And by “fishing” I mean seeing how far I can cast my line and doing that over and over again without regard to the act of fishing as I’d lost my bait about 20 minutes earlier and didn’t really care because it didn’t effect my distance… So I’d been doing that for a while and I started thinking about Monterey and Steinbeck and thinking about reading. At the lake the leaves were changing and it was barely raining and it felt like Fall for the first time this year and Fall in Utah reminds me of every season in Northern California, so there you have the Fishing-Steinbeck connection in rough outline.
I’m only about 50 pages through NurtureShock and at that particular time it wasn’t appealing to put my pole down and dive into a book about caring for children. I was in the outdoors! So I started reading Steinbeck because he writes so well about the California outdoors, and has that Monterey flavor at times, so thus began book #40, Of Mice and Men. A rare doubling-up of books as I’m still on book #39, NurtureShock.
Week #40 ends on October 3.
On to something a little more challenging, Ayn Rand‘s The Fountainhead. John Steinbeck was excellent of course, nothing much to say there except whenever I read him, I want to head to Monterey. The Pearl was not typical of the Steinbeck I’ve read. I’m glad I reread these two last books, I had forgotten about them.
I know nothing of Ayn Rand, nor of Objectivism. I suppose that’s why it’s next.
I tried Annie Dillard and didn’t quite get it. This was quite humbling, as the book won the Pulitzer. (*sigh*) So I started reading The Watchman (as per the poll, sorry polsters). Which, at first, was really exciting for me, having never read anything like that. Then it it turned dark and depressing which normally wouldn’t bother me, but right now I’m in a bit of a patch. So I turned to Hemingway early this morning and read The Old Man and The Sea clear through. I read this once before, almost ten years ago, but I don’t remember the story exactly as I read it today. As Clifton Fadimen puts it (I had to look him up):
When you reread a classic you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than was there before.
I’m reading Steinbeck tonight. The same month that I read The Old Man and The Sea in ’99 I also read The Pearl. These are very short books. This is great for two reasons. 1. I can usually read short books in just a couple sittings which helps out in capturing the story better (for some people, like me). 2. I can read a couple shorter books and make room for larger books that require more than a week to read. This has helped me a couple times this year, once to give me a little breathing room and another time to fit in a much longer book (The Book Thief). Ayn Rand has been sitting on my bookshelf, taunting me and ridiculing me. The Fountain Head‘s thickness haunts me.
Hemingway, The Old Man and The Sea