* For those wondering, the titles of my recent posts come from a book Alan Ziegler gave to me: Professor Latour's Gold Book of Dreams. This is one of those crazy pamphlets from the 60s that explains the true meaning behind every physical object that appears in your dream. A beggar asking your for a spare bagel means "special news about money" and a baseball flung at your head portends "popularity for you." Sadly I can't find this online, but if you ever see something similar at a yard sale, grab it up. The perfect thing to flip through when you are in a writing rut.
In other news:
* According to BBC News, fewer people finish Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire than Ulysses. I can't say this surprises me much. I've always found that the famously difficult books (In Search of Lost Time, War and Peace, etc.) are never quite as difficult to read as their reputation. On a page by page basis they can even be breezy. I think they get that reputation of being too difiicult to bother with because they are so long that people want an excuse not to read them.
I can sympathize. People who know me know that I am fanatical about finishing books I start....but I will admit there are two novels who have bested me (so far): David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest and Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. My first major mistake was starting them both the same summer(!) and also in allowing myself to take a supposed break after reading book one of Gravity's Rainbow. Gravity's Rainbow has indeed been a difficult read, due mostly to its structure that consists of a constant series of non-demarcated prolepses and analepses (flashforwards and flashbacks). Infinite Jest, on the other hand, is very readable as well as extremely funny. However, its constant stream of (demarcated) flashforwards, flashbacks and flashsidewayses are stuffed to bursting with such a wide variety of characters and plot lines that you feel you can start and stop anytime. The story you are hooked on for ten pages will be cut off and then not returned to for a hundred pages for more. You aren't on a roller coaster ride you can't jump off of, but instead walking around a crazy amusement park and it doesn't matter what order you visit the tents. The chaos somehow inspires a leasiruly pace. This isn't the best attitude to take if you want to finish a 1000+ page beheamoth though.
* A fun lit tool to check out is LibraryThing's Unsuggester. Instead of giving you recommendations based on which books you like, it gives you books to avoid. So, we learn that if you enjoyed Thus Spoke Zarathrustra you probably will not like The Husband by Dean Koontz or Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult. If you loved The Loser by Thomas Bernhard (a book I just finished yesterday) you probably should avoid The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells.
Well there you go kiddies, have some fun.