Friday, December 30, 2005

more bile

I was going to rant and rave about reading again, after coming across an article on Yahoo News about the "best books of 2005." After saying "did anyone really read all the way through the novel that won the National Book Award?" in their introduction, in a snide reference to William T. Vollmann's Europe Central. The anonymous author submits said book as the "most overrated book of 2005," saying "Upon receiving the National Book Award for fiction, Vollmann said of his 800-page opus of intertwined stories about World War II: "I'm very happy it's over, and I don't have to think about it anymore." So are we (and we didn't get past page 200)." Sorry dipshit, but perhaps if you'd put a little effort into reading a novel that expects you to contribute something other than just showing up and running your eyes over the page and a little less time reading about 30-year-old women trying to find a sensitive man™ with a BIG WALLET, you'd be better off and be more qualified to critique literature. They did manage to choose Joan Didion's National Book Award-winning The Year of Magical Thinking as their book of the year, but it's about a woman suffering, so that's probably the attraction. I WAS going to rant about this, but then I realized the story was from USA Today and not a real news source, so it didn't really matter.

However, I find this problem indicative of the general anti-intellectual thinking that's currently running rampant in our society. Actually READ an 800-page novel about World War II? Puh-LEEZ. I don't want to have to put THOUGHT into what I'm reading. That's why I read People, USA Today, and the Red Eye.

Urge to kill...rising...

So anyway, how about this. In 2006, read a real book. Something artsy. Something real. Something with some depth and thought and craft and artistry in it. I know this sounds pretentious, but for the love of all that's holy, I'm sick of people being voluntarily stupid. Hey look, I read Stephen King and Harry Potter too, and I enjoy the hell out of them, but there's more to life than that. I'll be posting a list of really, truly great books here in the next week or so. Do yourself a favor and read one.


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