Archive for November, 2008

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Tag, You’re It

November 26, 2008

Now that we are between books, and there’s no pressure for me to be relevant, I think it’s a high time that I mention what I can only describe as your unique tagging skills.

While admittedly I only skim your posts (at best). I always take plenty of time to read, in detail, all of your tags. They are quite the mix of the logical, the surreal, the factual, the fictional, the funny, and the just plain strange.

After reading through your posts, I often finding myself picking a favorite tag. For example, from your previous post I picked “21 year old Jon.” No doubt that will be a valuable placemarker for navigating through our posts.

Oh, and I hate to quibble (actually, I think we both know that’s not true, quibbling is one of my favorite pasttimes) but I think the tag “meta Justin” is a bit inaccurate. Shouldn’t it be “meta Gatsby” since I would be showing off my love of all things meta in relation to the novel and not myself?

Also, a sad note to pass along about my Gatsby t-shirt. After one washing it shrunk to about 1/10th its original size. (Justin’s Household Hint #1: Read laundry care labels before washing clothes.) I was in denial a bit and tried wearing it again, but after about 5 minutes I’m pretty sure one of my lungs was in the process of collapsing, and I had to retire the shirt. So unless I shrink or the shirt grows, I probably won’t be wearing it while I read.

I knew I was going to blow miss my chance to be all meta.

Okay, Twin, glad to hear you’re okay with my choice. I look forward to starting to read next week.

Until then Happy Thanksgiving.

Justin

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Great Gatsby? Sounds Swell!

November 24, 2008

Very brave of you to pick a book that you’ve already read…I’m thinking that you picked it so you can post without interrupting your own reading itinerary.

That or you liked the idea of reading The Great Gatsby while wearing your The Great Gatsby t-shirt…how very meta of you!

But this should be a treat…I don’t usually re-read books (I believe this will be one four, the other three consisting of college reading assignments–The Heart of Darkness, Wide Sargasso Sea and The Name of the Rose).

I believe I still have my copy from sophomore Traditions of American Literature II…I hope there are annotations, it will be fun to see what 21 year old Jon thought was highlight worthy!  (Maybe “fun” is too strong a word–it will be…not distracting)

So I’ll dig up my copy while I’m at the homestead this weekend and you can expect to see Gatsby themed posts by next week.

Until then…Happy Thanksgiving!

Jon

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Wouldn’t It Be Great

November 22, 2008

Wouldn’t it be great if:

1. Your advice on making a book selection made sense.

(You lost me somewhere about step 2.5 and then  there was step 4 which really was step 3 which in actuality was step 5 or something like that. I thought perhaps you were making some sort of high concept existential statement with the lack of direction your “directions” provided. Then I remembered you were just bad at giving/following directions. You did one time manage to burn jello.)

2. I would finally make up my mind on what book we would read next.

Well, I have, and I am happy to pass along the next selection that we will read. It wasn’t an easy decision. I was really tempted to suggest The Expedition of Humphrey Clinker (which William Thackeray described as “the most delightful story that has ever been written since the goodly art of novel-writing began.”)

But instead, I thought I would change direction a bit (that and I thought a copy of Humphrey Clinker might be hard to come by as it does not seem readily available for purchase.) I thought this time around we could try an American novel for a change of pace and needing a break from lugging around a monster book for awhile I’ve decided on:

The Great Gatsby.

I thought it be a good book to revisit. Well, that and I had this whole (completely unplanned) “Great” theme running throughout this post, and I didn’t want to ruin it.

So, find a copy and let me know when you want to kick off the reading.

Justin

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What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

November 22, 2008

Hi Twin,

Perhaps you misunderstand your responsibilities…you don’t have to write a book for us to read…merely pick a title that sounds interesting (really it doesn’t even have to be interesting).  This is not brain surgery man!  Here I’ll walk you through it.

  1. Get 3 pieces of paper.
  2. On the first piece write Finnegan’s Wake, on the second piece write Invisible Man, on the third piece write War of the Worlds.
  3. Fold each piece in half and throw them in a hat.
  4. Shoot!  Before step three you should really have gotten a hat.–that’s step 2.5
  5. OK, so this actually step 4–just ignore the numbers in front of the statement, they’ve quickly become meaningless.  The actual step isn’t to ignore the numbers…that’s an aside.    Ack!  Step 4, (erroneously labeled 5) is to pick one out of the hat.

Viola! A title!  Now that wasn’t so hard was it? (Actually as you can see, making that list was more difficult than I had anticipated).

Well while I wait (impatiently, with baited breath, on tenterhooks)…I’ll be doing some “no discussion” leisure reading.  Here’s my reading list:

When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson–because I love this series!

Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson–so I can have something interesting to say at Books & Bars

And last, but not least–the last 3 months of New Yorkers…I’m way behind.

I’m looking forward to hearing your selection!

Jon

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Q: A Three Letter Word For “No Fun”

November 21, 2008

A: J-o-n.

You see, twin brother, I had a whole week’s worth of very entertaining “I’m done with Middlemarch and you’re not” posts all set. And believe me they would have been way funnier than this in practice. In fact, I’ve made this purposely not funny in order to punish you for ruining my fun. 

That’ll teach you.

Now as for your description of Dodo Causabon. I think she’s a little less Jennifer Jones in The Song of Bernadette and a bit more Will Smith in The Legend of Bagger Vance.  I am thinking more magical than miraculous.

Just as Bagger teaches us a little bit about golf, more about life, and a lot about ourselves through club selection, the direction of the wind, and the lay of the land. So, Dodo reveals so much about life in the everyday, and magically changes a perspective with a single comment or observation.

(At least that’s what I think Bagger Vance taught us. Honestly I didn’t like that movie very much, and started making up my own plot half way through the movie, so I could be wrong. Come to think of it, that’s probably why my version of Bagger Vance ends with Will Smith and Matt Damon performing a rousing rendition of “Who’s on First”–Man, do I love “Who’s on First.”)

Now, I guess the pressure’s on me to pick another book. Perhaps, you could put together a nice book selection schedule. (I know how you love to put together a nice schedule.) 

Actually, I have set a deadline of tomorrow for the big book decision. When I know more, so will you.

Justin

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Endgame

November 19, 2008

Dear Twin,

Sorry to piggyback right on your last blog post, but after you disparaged my ability to finish the book I wanted to let you know when I finished as soon as it happened.  And I just read the last word.  (It’s “tombs” if you need evidence).

Anyway…I loved the American Graffiti style flash forward that we got at the end of the book.  I’ll rest easier at night knowing about the book Fred Vincy wrote and the fact that Lydgate gets diptheria.

So I guess you’ll have to move a little quicker on your book selection.  While we wait here are some things we can possibly discuss:

1.  When Dodo appears in the book do you imagine her surrounded by a heavenly glow a la Jennifer Jones in The Song of Bernadette?

2.  In your mental picturing of Uncle Brooke do imagine him to be stern and craggly a la Charles Bickford in The Sond of Bernadette?

3.  Do you have a copy of the The Song of Bernadette?

I can’t believe you made no mention of the following quotation (from page 814)

You have a soft place in your heart yourself, you know–you’re not a Draco, a Jeffreys, that sort of thing.

Looks like George Eliot was throwing down the gauntlet with our family 150 years ago (even going so far as mispellling our name!).  Game on George…if I saw her walking down the street today I’d be hard pressed not to Adam Bede her face (what happens in Adam Bede…I don’t know).

Off to have a celebratory I finished Middlemarch beer,

Jon

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Wind Beneath My Whatnow?

November 19, 2008

Okay, I have to admit that I may have missed some of the finer details of your last post. After I got through your nearly scene-by-scene recreation of Beaches I was simultaneously impressed by your near photographic memory for that movie, and more than a little scared.

I haven’t seen you drop so many Bette Midler references since you debuted your one-man tribute “I Couldn’t Be ‘Bette’-er (Thanks for Asking.):One Man’s Celebration of Song” during Jeffryes Family Amateur Theatrics Night back in 1992. (I didn’t want to mention it then, but you were kind of a nerd.) But, boy, what a show.

Okay on the book related front, I am having a bit of hard time deciding on a new book for the blog. At first I was concerned, but then I realized that it might very well be quite some time before you actually finish the book.

So, I’ll keep cogitating, and hopefully I’ll be struck with a wave of inspiration in the next day or two.

Until then,
Justin