The Year of Reading Massively

I stopped blogging last summer — not really consciously — because I was doing so much reading. I must have read a dozen books in July & August about cosmology & quantum physics & I may write something about those before long. Basically, what I learned is that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy. But mostly I’ve been reading fiction & in particular Henry James. I started with The American, then in quick succession read Washington Square (which I had read before), Portrait of a Lady, & The Ambassadors. I mixed in some of the shorter tales as I went along, including “The Figure in the Carpet” & a rereading of “The Jolly Corner.” I’m probably forgetting a few. And yesterday I finished Edel’s one-volume version of his massive five-volume biography. Along the way I read David Lodge’s Author, Author, which takes as its subject a five year period in James’s middle years in which he attempted without much success to write for the stage. Along the way I read Lodge’s essay, “Consciousness and the Novel,” which is mostly motivated by a concern for understanding James’s depiction of personality, though it ranges into modern neuroscience and philosophy as well. About half-way through the sequence just noted, I paused to read Charles Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend in order to see what the novel had looked like in the decade before James.

And that was just one little piece of my reading in recent months. I think I’ll be using the blog in the near future to review a good deal of this recent reading, returning to the original impulse under which I started blogging, which was to record a writer’s notes on his reading.

Long Time Away

More than a month since I’ve posted anything here & it was pretty sparse for a couple of months before that. Clearly, my attitude toward blogging has changed — though without my being particularly aware of it — over the last several months. So I’m going to redesign the site in the coming weeks, though I’m not quite sure what that will entail. In the meantime, I’m planning a series of posts recounting my recent reading, beginning with a stack of science books I’ve read over the last several months.

New Dog, New Blog?

Carole went down to the Russell Rescue last weekend to pick up Dash, who will be our third JRT. Call it a weakness. We just love the little suckers. Speaking of weakness, I didn’t even make a post last week to note the tenth year of this blog, or some version of it. I began in October following my Fulbright year in Vietnam in 2000 – 2001. It certainly has been a busy fall — I’m serving on a couple of departmental committees as well as trying to organize a student trip to Vietnam for the spring, teaching a new course, and preparing to teach another new course next term in the Honors Program. But I’ve been busy before without going completely silent in this space. I’ve been doing mostly drawing and painting in my free time, moving toward some kind of quasi autobiographical approach to those media and that seems to have drained my desire to write about myself here, though of course I ought to still be interested, on e would think, in the ostensible purpose of this blog, which is writing about reading. Perhaps as fall diminishes and winter settles in, I will want to setting in the warm glow of a computer monitor more often. Or not: the wood stove has its attractions, however lacking in intellectual rigor.