January 14, 2004

In the course of a day, each person probably has about a million thoughts or so, I'm thinking. (There's one right there!) But seriously, with all these thoughts that run through my head, you'd think I could get around to writing them down more often.

Today one of my band members complained that they only have to check my blog once a month to keep up with it, and that's pitiful. If my BAND members are complaining, I'd really better get my rear in gear.

So, today's thought is somewhat unrelated to music, but very much a part of creativity.

I am an avid reader, and recently I've taken to going to the dollar store and buying cheap books by unknown authors that look interesting. This is not a large investment, maybe $1.08 with tax, and since I read a few books a week (can't go to sleep without having escaped into some book for at least an hour or so) this is an economical way to get my fix, and also to discover things I'd never have found otherwise.

I picked up this book yesterday called 'The Bearded Lady.' The cover is very carny-like, with that carnival poster drawing and catch-phrases all over it, but it reads more like a depression-era southern novel, and it is very well written. But, the best part about it is that it has a weird undercurrent to it, a macabre aesthetic, and those kind of books always appeal to me the most.

Hilary's must-read list:

-House of Leaves (I need to find my copy and give you the author, but his last name starts with a 'Z' and ends with "owski," or some such thing, I think. You will be sucked into this book, literally feeling as though you are right there. The author does the most fascinating three-degrees of narrator removal, and yet also mirrors the movement of the story in the very way the pages are laid out. If he's talking about a spiral staircase going down, the words will turn. Rather than being annoying, this is a disturbing, yet effective ploy that he uses sparingly, and which, rather than feeling like a trick, comes off as the most brilliant thing ever attempted.)
-As I Lay Dying (William Faulkner - or for that matter read ANY Faulkner book, just read him for God's sake - he puts Hemingway into left field. Having said that, Ernest is great in his own right but when you want to step away from masculine projection for a chapter or two, read Faulkner!)
-Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston)
-The Stand (Stephen King - or, again, pretty much anything by King, especially his older collections like Skeleton Crew - he's vastly underrated even if he DID finally win a much-disputed literary award. If anybody in the academic world ever figures it out, King will be in the college canon, and will be taught in more classes than just his own.)
-Carrion Comfort (Dan Simmons - the darkest, most thought-provoking yet entertaining read I can promise)
-Song of Kali (also by Dan Simmons - this one could have you laying awake sick for days...but if you're up to that, it's fascinating.)

My list could go on and on and on and on and on...but this is a start. I studied both English and Music in college, (only 1,200 students at my school and so we spent a LOT of time in philosphical debate) and yet rather than become snooty and classist about my reading choices, I'm a champion of everything from the classics to pulp fiction. My one sticking point is that everyone deserves to learn to read, and to learn to ENJOY to read.

I am filled with despair and anger at the rate of illiteracy in this country. I also find that school kids are reading so much they DON'T enjoy, and are rarely allowed during school time to read for enjoyment, that they never CHOOSE to read at home because they're too busy or too bored with what they've had to read that day that the last thing they'd want to do is look at another typewritten page, so click goes the TV remote. Other than play music, I will always try to take some of my time and/or money to help literacy and reading programs.

Enough soapbox...

I'm going to go to bed and read...

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