I love holidays for many reasons, one of which is that I usually catch up on reading and movies. This Thanksgiving holiday is no exception. In my pile are a twentieth-century American classic, a nineteenth-century French classic, and some brain candy.
The Old Man and the Sea is on my list because of the Robert Redford movie All Is Lost, which recently had me on the edge of my seat. Both the novella and the movie are about Man battling Nature, and I want to see if and how the two narratives speak to each other. I also want to see if my feelings about Hemingway have changed any. He’s always struck me as sentimental, except for A Moveable Feast, in which case I’m the sentimentalist because I have an ongoing love affair with a city called Paris.
Le Pere Goriot is on my list because I’ve been reading a lot of French YA fiction this year (in French), and it’s giving me a big head, thinking I must be a genius to be reading French-language novels so easily. I read Balzac in graduate school and thought he was a tough slog then. And you know what? He’s still challenging. All those super-long nineteenth-century sentences with vocabulary that hardly exists anymore and historical references I have to look up. (Is that any different from an English-language novel of the same vintage?) I don’t know that I’ll finish this one over the break, but I’ll make progress. Strrrrrrrrretch, I can feel the brain expanding!
A New York Times film reviewer (I forget which one) once said that it’s okay to enjoy a movie that appeals to only two percent of one’s intellectual capacity. Bossypants is the print version of this truism. I’m reading it for the two percent fun so that the other ninety-eight percent can relax after the turkey.
Enjoy the holiday—and let us know what’s on your reading list!