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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Reading List 2009 -- Written in Stone


Well, the "Frequency of Silence" Reading List for 2009 is now complete. I am going to set in stone the 2009 titles. I've decided not to add any or replace any of the titles by other books throughout the year. Aside from the philosophical twist, I am going to read voraciously about writing techniques. I am doing so because I think it will help me with my teaching and to develop new methods to help my students. The effort for 2009 is then a two-fold (or a two-prong approach): Teach myself to think philosophically again and not obsessively, and teach myself how to be a better teacher to my students. Here's the list: 2009!

After finishing NaNoWriMo for 2008 I always give myself a little treat. Just like last year, my treat for December is to take it easy, write for leisure rather than a word count and read my favorite "silly-little-book" entitled "A Movable Feast," by Ernest Hemingway. It's a book about Hemingway's young days living in the Paris expatriate artist community that included F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, Sylvia Beach, Gertrude Stein, etc. The book is more fiction than fact--as most Hemingway non-fiction is--but it is an inspiring book for any aspiring writer (as long as she or he can keep from laughing at the exaggerated facts). For example, while conversing with Ford Madox Ford, Hemingway states that they saw Aleister Crowley cross the street (or something to that effect). It's been widely catalogued as a lie since, but it is interesting and entertaining as hell. It was in this book that I first learned about Jules Pascin and he fast became one of my favorite artists. Also, there are some fabulous "Hemingway at his best" passages like this one:


With so many trees in the city, you could see the spring coming each day until a night of warm wind would bring it suddenly in one morning. Sometimes the heavy cold rains would beat it back so that it would seem that it would never come and that you were losing a season out of your life. This was the only truly sad time in Paris because it was unnatural. You expected it to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintry light. But you knew there would always be spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person had died for no reason.In those days, though, the spring always came finally but it was frightening that it had nearly failed.

There are way too many things happening right now in my life, and that's the reason why I haven't been able to write as much as I wanted before, or even finish putting together my reading list for 2009. I am hoping to go back to the gym the rest of the month. The rest of this month will determine whether or not I will begin my year on the right foot. A few more pages from Hemingway and then I'll leave it at that.

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2 Comments:

At 5:01 PM, Blogger Stefanie said...

Nice list. I'd like to read the two Eco books sometime and I have a copy of the Durant I'd also like to read. You've got lots of good stuff to look forward to!

 
At 1:08 AM, Blogger Suzan Abrams said...

JCR,
What a fabulous treat reading...from you, a true lover of books and just look at the picture. It caught me in my tracks.
I am so sorry I wasn't able to reply your letter although I enjoyed reading it and will reply it shortly. I have been travelling rather intensely and find it hard to adjust to writing when always on the move. But I have always enjoyed your blog and will continue to read it with great pleasure in 2009.
Your reading list is deeply philosophical, exquisite and clearly featuring stories where language shines.

 

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