I like to pretend I’m smart. I suppose at some point I’ve probably actually fooled some people into thinking that about me. Do not believe it. I am an idiot and I do dumb things all the time, I’m just apparently a convincing liar about my lack of intellect.
I am currently reading Dhalgren, by Samuel Delany. I’m not quite 2/3 of the way through it; I could finish it in a day if I wanted to, but it’ll probably take a few more evenings of reading to finish. Now, I purchased the book in February, more or less on a whim, and from Amazon– and fell prey to the Amazon curse where once I physically had the book in my hands I think “Oh, I might not have made a good decision here.” It literally sat on my to-be-read shelf for ten months before I got to it. (It wasn’t even the oldest book on the shelf; I have at least one present from last Christmas that I haven’t gotten to yet.)
I recently asked my wife to pick my next book and she grabbed Dhalgren. The book is well known for being complicated, and I need to be in a very particular frame of mind to read complicated fiction– and for the last couple of years the mental space necessary to achieve that frame of mind simply hasn’t been available very much. So I sort of mentally groaned when she handed it to me but started it anyway, hoping beyond hope that I’d like it. Miraculously, so far, I have– but from what I understand I’m only just about to hit the place where the narrative goes off the rails and the whole thing turns into a James Joyce novel.
Anyway. Here’s the thing– I was actually happy to be finally reading it, to some extent, because even if it was too difficult to read and I didn’t finish it, I’d at least have removed a three-inch-thick, 800-page book that had become a bit of an albatross from my To Be Read shelf, and it would stop staring at me, and I could presumably move on to, like, a Star Wars book or something with zombies in it next with no compunctions.
I got two Barnes and Noble gift cards for Christmas. We went to Barnes and Noble this afternoon.
I came home with God damned Anathem.
Just shoot me.