Forget Atkins: Try the Diet of Worms

I've actually got a copy on my bookshelf. But I am still looking for an edition of Karl Marx's "Yes, Jesus was so an atheist."

Ten easy ways to kill that mockingbird!

Apparently, Harpo—er, Harper Lee wrote a letter for the current issue of “O, The Oprah Magazine. “

We ask: Is that really worth coming out of reclusion for?

Even if the magazine issue promotes reading, and even if Harper Lee gives the magazine a whiff of respectability (while clouding herself with the sickening sweet stink of pOp culture), we vote “No on O.”

We like this, though:

"…(I have) clung to books even when others carry laptops, cell phones, iPods and minds like empty rooms."

Hey, looking for something to do, Harper? Write a book!


Only Woolf can cry Woolf ... and other literary lessons

Once again, Daniel Green over The Reading Experience has done it! He gives a rousing good analysis of the yawns of psychological realism as practiced by too many (average? mediocre? mass marketed? insert adjective here) contemporary (usually American) writers. Four purrs out of five for this essay...

And now back to our regularly scheduled meowing

The Literate Kitten dusts off her critics cap (a darling black beret with a cherry-red bow set rakishly to one side), adjusts her rhinestone-encrusted glasses, and fixes a glare on the self-pitying author of the past several entries. No, no, no! That is the ego whining! (Freud or Jung or one of those white European men wearing monocles would be strutting about like ancient roosters about now.) Amazing as it may seem, we are not the center of the universe, stars in a perpetual movie, and gods and goddesses incarnate. Especially not if we wear GAP jeans.

This culture has long been confusing its ridiculous insistence on self with individual effort set upon a foundation of basic civil rights. That is where consumerism and mass marketing have gotten us. LK, for one, is sick of every shopper believing Wal-Mart was created just for her, that big cars were designed for those superior enough to rule the road, that a teenage kid’s personal freedom extends to the right to disturb an entire busload of people with an inane cell phone conversation, or that some privileged old white men don’t have to fight a war they start because they have somehow gotten the idea that they are God’s select. Like Grade AAA eggs.

This includes a virtual mewl, rather than cri de coeur, reflecting on how one person is just not good enough or adequate enough for reading, much less reading Proust. As if that was the point at all.

The ego should come with detailed instructions, we swear. And a warning label: Not for liberal use. And definitely not for children.

One point of this entire exercise, we remind ourselves, is to prove how effort, depth and the rigors of the long haul prove more satisfying and lasting than the instant gratification and self indulgence our society so wants us to buy into (at great profit to the few).

Our underwhelming confidence in our own capabilities notwithstanding, we will grit our pearly whites and continue our project, looking forward to such a time when reflexive belief in our own ideologies (read: navel gazing) no longer governs our world.


What it means to be a reader

Bloody hell. It is 5:42 p.m. Pacific time, I've got a short story class in 45 minutes, and I'm freaking exhausted. Mentally. Yes, I did manage to consume 4 glasses of chablis after seeing "An Inconvenient Truth" (drinking while chatting with a friend, not drowning my depression over global warming). Yes, I put in a full day of typing drivel about actuarials. Yes, I read 300 pages of a book this weekend...

What? you ask. 300 pages. With 100-150 yet to go. And a book I heartily recommend, "They Marched into Sunlight," by David Maraniss. Neglecting Proust, even, to meet the goal. Could that explain the mental exhaustion?

Well, possibly. But I admit more to twinges of desperation and depression at not having finished the damned thing. I mean, I tried. I devoted as much time and energy as I could in 3 days to putting this one behind me.

And I couldn't.

Motivated as I was -- and am -- I simply couldn't overcome physics, and the act of reading text, word by word, then manually turning a page and starting the process all over again, some 300 times. When I think about approaching Proust -- well, it's like facing the Mount Everest of literature clad in a pair of Tevah sandals.

Okay, I've got a short story class to attend now. Rumination central closed for now. To be coherent another day...