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Joyce, Grass or Meyer

November 30, 2009 - Meg Alexander
Choosing a book to read is a funny thing. Sometimes I feel more like the book picks me than the other way around.

I've considered "Tin Drum" by Gunter Grass countless times but have held off for some reason, though the story and wit are delightfully bizarre. I have a feeling when I'm ready, I will fall head over heels in love with this book.

I read a couple pages from James Joyce's "Ulysses" this weekend but feel exhausted just considering a commitment of that magnitude. Written in 18 episodes, Joyce said the thousand-page book is filled with "so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant." Oh yes, let's dive into that, could we? (Please note sarcasm.)

"Animals in Translation" by Temple Grandin is another consideration a friend recommended for me. The nonfiction book is about an autistic animal scientist, who can relate better to the animals she works with than her own species, due to her developmental disability.

Or I could just go the safe route and pick up something I've already read. I tend to do this a lot. There's such comfort in familiarity, and joy in seeing things missed the first, second, third and fourth time around. And sometimes it's just nice for a mindless distraction, which is probably how I found myself reading, again, the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. Good writing? No. Compelling story? Yes.

But it's also good to stretch the mind a bit, and I think the time has come to venture out into new territory ... so we'll see where I end up in the next few days. Maybe Bronte's "Wuthering Heights" or Dicken's "Bleak House" or Kafka's "Trial." I'll let you know.


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