Looking Back: My Book Journal, Nov. 7th, 2009

Just finished Tolstoi's Confession and am quite moved. Stunning that he felt so despondent two years removed from Anna Karenina's publication, when he was at the height of his creative powers, and yet believed what he had accomplished was ultimately meaningless. He was in such despair that he seriously contemplated suicide for a good year, until he rediscovered what he terms "the faith of the poor." I want to review this once I get my thoughts organized on paper.

A Confession (Hesperus Classics)

Trying to make my way through The Anatomy of Melancholy but man, it is tough going. I have little idea of what I'm reading, but it's nonetheless compelling: I love the topic, being a melancholic person myself, so I'll keep pulling it out from time to time and treating it like a poetry volume when I'm in the mood for something heavy and profound to chew on. If anyone hereabouts has read it and could provide a synopsis or aim of the book, I'd be very thankful.

Am also making my way through William T. Vollmann's - my favorite alive writer's epic treatise on CA/Mexico border socio-politics, Imperial. Truly fascinating. I have an adopted son who's Mexican (3yr old) and since I live in Chino, CA, a mere hour-and-a-half from the border, the topic is a very personal and weighted one for me. Vollmann originally wanted to write a novel of his 10 years of research on the area he defines as "Imperial"; an area much larger than Imperial County proper, extending south to the Sea of Cortez and north to Indio and west to the Pacific Ocean, but felt it wouldn't be right to fictionalize the lives of all the real people - "Southsiders" and "Northsiders" he calls them - so he turned his research into a 1,300 page examination of the history and current climate of the conflict. Fascinating stuff. I wish more people read Vollmann. Any Vollmann lovers out there?


I ordered The Hour of the Star two weeks ago from Amazon and am peeved that it still hasn't arrived; supposed to be reading it for a group read.

The Hour of the Star (New Directions Paperbook)

Am presently skimming a couple works of analysis and criticism on my favorite dead writer, David Foster Wallace: Elegant Complexity, an in-depth, practically page-by-page examination of Infinite Jest, and also a more general title on the author's life and work, Understanding David Foster Wallace. I'm still upset (sort of, if I let myself think about it too much) that he's gone - and gone so young at the peak of his creative powers - truly tragic that he didn't believe he could be helped by therapy or medication or other interventions anymore.

Elegant Complexity: A Study of David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest Understanding David Foster Wallace (Southern Classics Series) Infinite Jest

Lastly, for now, am skimming a couple works on the French Revolution just so I have at least some working knowledge of all the references made to that violent era in Les Miserables, a book I'll begin re-reading next month.

 Les Misérables (Signet Classics)


  1. Very cool! A much more bookish version of what I'm trying to do on Saturdays with my Reading Roundup. Perhaps you'll do me the honor of linking it up on Saturday?


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