Tuesday, January 03, 2006

New Year's Crapulotions

I always have an itch on the new year to start a reading program. At the beginning of a Bible we have there is a "read-the-Bible-in-a-year" chart. I'd love to do that. I also have a nice book called The Lifetime Reading Plan that I'd love to start on but I know both won't be done. I'm not going to read Descartes or Rosseau(sp?). I'm reminded of this because I say an author interview show last night with the writer of another book I have Great Books. It's similar to the first, but is a man's return to Columbia to redo their great books program. A great books program is something I would have loved to do, but I just didn't take the opportunity for that.

I was once a great reader, but during my 20's fiction fell aside as I read my way through ugly finance text book to uglier Econ and accounting texts. I then did the same while pursuing my CFA designation. By the end of my 20's I didn't have the mind for fiction. I still have a hard time reading it. I just don't see the point. I know that's foolish, but the practical Howard in me

One long three day weekend late in the first semester of my freshman year, I read through Madame Bovary. It was a weird weekend close to finals where the campus seemed to have emptied out. No one was around. On Friday afternoon after classes I picked up Flaubert's book - I don't know how I got it or why I picked it up. It's not something that would appeal to a mid-western 18-year old male.

The translation must have been good because by Sunday afternoon I was finished. I remember reading it in the dining hall and in the community room and in my room non-stop. Sometime, in a fit of boredom or pique, I wrote "Emma is a Bitch" on the wall next to my bed. Just a little scribble, I probably didn't even think about it.

On Sunday night, my nominal girlfriend at the time (nominal in that she named herself that even though I didn't consider her that, but I was never one to worry about those things) S. stopped by. She was a nice blond little girl from the Region that stood about 5'2" with a slightly pockmarked face from a bad case of acne and that Chicago accent.

I was zonked and tired and not much in the mood for talk but she noticed the writing on the wall and got all testy. Who's Emma? I explained to her how I spent my weekend and didn't even remember writing that. I showed her the book and suggested she read it. But I knew she wouldn't.

The look of total incomprehension and incrudulity and just plain annoyance that I would choose to spend a weekend wasting my time reading a 19th century French novel about a bourgeois adultress that came across her face was hysterical. I knew I just wasn't in the mood to be around this person. With no real plan, I excused myself for some reason, went down the hall, went for a walk. I came back a couple hours later. She was gone. The scribble was still there. My roomate had returned by then. He said she was still there when he got there but was seriously wicked pissed that I had disappeared.

We had a Spanish class together. I avoided her during the last week of class since it didn't look like she was going to apologize for giving me that look. In the new semester, we had Spanish 202 together, but she dropped it. Maybe if I had read Don Quixote?

I don't know how I got off on this tangent, but the end result is I don't think I'll formalize as a resolution better reading habits, but maybe...just maybe... I'll try Madame Bovary again.

Stay You.
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