Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

How To Know Who To Read

"Here is a sad reflection for the ordinary reader, faced as he is with lifetimes upon lifetimes worth of books on entering even a small public library or a reasonably well-stocked bookshop. Since we can’t have very many, we must husband our time and attention carefully. But how to choose? The melancholy may lift a little when we realize that so many wise souls who have come before have been willing to serve as guides."

5 Comments / Post A Comment

hershmire (#233,671)

Great timing! I just finished a book and I'm stuck on what to read next.

Mr. B (#10,093)

Oh-la-la! Congratulations, Barnhouse. Thoughts:

– George Orwell and John Waters have the same mustache! This may have been obvious to others, but I only just realized this.

– Susan Sontag was full of shit — she probably only skimmed three-fourths of those books, and when she re-read probably stuck to certain favorite passages.

“The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini” (a terrific liar, the very portrait of entertaining braggadocio).
Ooh! You should totally check out Frank Bidart's "The Third Hour of the Night" (a long poem largely narrated by Cellini, collected in his book "Star Dust" but also available here).

“Crime and Punishment,” by Fyodor Dostoevsky (the first novel to make me barf).

barnhouse (#1,326)

Thank you for this, The Awl, and thank you @Mr. B. I will look into Star Dust!! As for barfing, it has happened just twice. The terrible beating of the horse in Crime and Punishment, and then the eel thing in The Tin Drum. #fleah

gumplr (#66)

The lawnmower scene in Misery, and 1/7 of nearly every Palahniuk book.

Tulletilsynet (#333)

Susan Sontag is one of the great walk-through-the-museum-pointing critics, which is something to be, but thank you for calling her on her shit.

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