Wednesday, November 01, 2006

What to Read

Back in college, I took a class that spent an entire semester on James Joyce's Ulysses. I've never slept better in my life. While many of my classmates proclaimed it an unprecedented study of a multifaceted work so complex that not one of them ever knew what the hell they were talking about, I was quick to point out that this was hardly the first time such a class had been tried.

My fourth-grade teacher, Mr. Lofton, dedicated an entire term solely to studying the modern classic "Blinky on the Lam." In this picture book, Blinky, an English-speaking frog with an eye moisture problem, is captured by an overzealous child, cruelly spirited from his beloved pond, and dumped into a cold, cramped aquarium. With the aid of a wise goldfish and an excitable hamster named Mr. Chewy, Blinky breaks out and finds his way back to his lily pad.

Mr. Lofton was an eccentric, gray-haired older teacher who would "ding" you for being off in "Hooky Pooky Land," a tactic my college professor never bothered to employ. He spent many long hours covering every aspect of "Blinky on the Lam," from the symbolism of an amphibian who couldn't stop blinking to the many allusions that filled every sentence. The narrator was considered unreliable since s/he never identified his/her relationship with the characters in the story, and Mr. Lofton instructed us to read between the lines to identify Blinky's loneliness in a world with no God. Ultimately, it was even decided that the happy ending was illusory and was merely Blinky's dying hallucination as he lay mangled under the wheels of an eighteen-wheeler that hadn't missed him on that highway, as the unreliable narrator had claimed.

That was Mr. Lofton's final year of teaching. I've read "Blinky on the Lam" many times since, and concluded that, while he may have misread the ending, it is a tale that is infinite and contains many more multitudes than anything written by James Joyce. To this day I can scarcely drive past an eighteen-wheeler without checking the tires for a streak of green crushed between the treads. —Brockman, blogmaster

I am actually going to read Middlemarch by George Elliot! I read a review of it yesterday and found a used copy for $5.00 and I am going to give it a try. I have never read ANY Elliot so we will see if I can manage it! I usually think there is a reason why books become classics-they remain readable for there should be a reason this book is still being spoken of these 100 years later!

I got a new cat on Monday. I was over at Michelle's house and this very skinny Siamese was climbing her screen door looking for food. Michelle didn't want the animal so I took her. She is malnourished and dirty but, a beautiful cat! Yes I know I have a lot of animals but I think she needed us and now she has a home! What she doesn't have is a name, that I know of anyway!
We are just calling her "New Girl" right now but she is really a dignified cat and that won't work for long...she really deserves a good name.
I will post pictures later-blogger is not letting me right now!

I am off to get some work done, will talk to you later,

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