Thursday, January 28, 2010

5 Thoughts On A Thursday

1) I went into the bathroom this morning at 5:00 am to take a shower, only to find not one but two cats in the bathtub. They took one look at me and then bolted for the door, both with very furtive and guilty looks on their faces. (Tub was clean, though...)

2) Howard Zinn is dead. So is J.D. Salinger. "These things always happen in threes." chimes in Robyn. Who'll be the next to kick the bucket? I hope it's not Lou Reed.

3) Speaking of J.D. Salinger... The Catcher In The Rye, more than any other book that I have ever read, is the single book whose value is solely based upon when and how you read it. I remember reading during the summer between my senior year of high school and my freshman year of college and being overwhelmingly unimpressed with whiny, sniveling Holden Caulfield. On the other hand, I have friends and acquaintances - people whose opinions I highly and deeply respect - who will swear by the power and the genius of The Catcher In The Rye. I think that it's just the absolute perfect novel to read when you're 15 and white and male and full of existential angst. But give me Joseph Heller's Catch-22 over it any day of the week.

4) But what are the most formative novels of your youth? Those books that you remember reading in the attic with the bubble gum smell while you're watching Sesame Street, or that novel that you just couldn't put down, even though that meant throwing up all over the school bus in the morning? I tried starting a blog posting about this almost a year ago, and this is the list I came up with:

1) The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien, 1994 (Joel, age 10)
2) The Red Badge of Courage - Stephen Crane, 1996 (age 12)
3) The Sorrows of Young Werther, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1999 (age 15)
4) Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte, 2001 (age 17)
5) The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoevsky, 2003 (age 19)

This should be a longer, independent post, about how it's important to take into account the entire environment within which you exist whenever you encounter a book. Because, you know, Wuthering Heights is actually quite absurd, even though he completely rocked my world when I first read it.

5) You know what's kind of messed up? I'm sitting here eating Mesquite Flavored potato chips while I'm watching "BBQ Pitmasters" on TLC. This is making me so hungry, watching them cook chicken, ribs, pulled pork. Look at me. I'm drooling.

P.S. - got for more awesome comics. All comics by Kate Beaton.

Hehehehe... "I bet you're not here because of Faust."


r wright said...

you read Goethe at 15??? My god! I can't read that even at my age!!

I assume the other cat was your housemate's...

Joel said...

Both of the cats were my housemate's, Tun and Virgil.

Funny anecdote about Goethe: When he was asked to write a preface for the second edition of the wildly successful "Werther," he felt compelled to include a "product warning" because so many young German noblemen kept emulating Werther and offing themselves.

Along with "Catcher In The Rye," I think that "Werther" is one of those books that you have to read as a young, upper-middle class white male, and then come back to it five, ten, twenty, thirty years later and laugh at yourself.