Monday, April 20, 2009

Reading Others

Read this most interesting book on Kindness. Seems like I'm surrounded by opportunities. People are always misunderstanding others - it seems we cut people little slack anymore. I learned that whining and ranting are extremely popular nowadays, and that they are kind of dead ends if overdone. Revenge is a very scary dead end. I once asked an acquaintance what he would do with a million dollars and he said "First off, I'd have my enemies dealt with!" Yikes. And he was serious. Am I old fashioned for not having any enemies? Is someone out there eyeing me as their enemy? Does someone perceive me as a self centered, rude, unkind jerk? Am I just a couple of blue funks away from being denounced?

Things I never knew about O'Connor. (From The Financial Times Book Section.)

It was an eye opening book. Just when you think you have some subject figured out... you realize you don't at all.

Ants in America

The Library has one small sex shelf, but not an entire sex section. Shouldn't there be a whole room full of books on the subject? A lot of people out there doing it ~ they may need books!

The Old Paris Review Interviews are interesting.


R.L. Bourges said...

A R: Loved your title: Reading Others.

It's so hard, sometimes. I know I've gotten it wrong pretty often, just when I thought I understood exactly what the other person was saying - boom, I realized I had completely misinterpreted the intention behind the words.

I only know you through blogging but you certainly strike me as a genuinely kind and caring person. Plus, you love the same books as I do, so obviously, you're a fine person :-)

I think the biggest problem is not getting caught up in someone else's negativity, specially when it hits us in a sensitive spot. In that sense, the author of that book is right. Every time we get it wrong, we have a new opportunity to get it right. Personally, I just wish I'd get it right more often.

Flannery: boy, coke AND coffee. That must keep you going! Wonder what her mother thought of the mule - does it say? Was a mule just the animal she'd been pining for all her life? This reader wants to know. And outfits for her chickens - I see a whole Wallace and Gromit movie in that. A new Chicken Run with Costume Designs by Flannery O'Connor !

Is the Art of Being Kind the book you were referring to at the top?

More ants than people in America? more ants than people just about everywhere, no?

Sex section - not terrifically inspiring selection, I must say. Is there at least an erotica section? (Our mediathèque has some pretty interesting selections - took out a book of erotic haikus the other day, some dating back to the 10th century. They seemed to enjoy sex just as much back then, can you believe that?)

Paris Review: my favorite sentence is the last one. Exactly. Sometimes, you get the words right on the first go-round and sometimes, it takes a lot of rewrites. Knowing Hemingway did thirty nine rewrites in one instance puts things in perspective, doesn't it?

Glad to have you back, A R. If I were you, I wouldn't worry too much about my kindness factor, believe me.


Deborah Godin said...

I can honestly say I never had a personal enemy. As opposed to a terrorist type person whom I don't really expect to encounter. Although, I am over forty and not currently in a relationship. Hmmm.

Tom said...

i don't have any enemies, as such, but if i had a million dollars i would never again deal with the few people that i don't much appreciate. Liked this post.

Anonymous said...

What's really weird about misunderstanding someone is when you want them to be what you thought they were before they explained that they hate the very things you love. Then re-adjusting and accepting is very hard.

tut-tut said...

Excuse me; i was about to write comment but Frank is chewing on the cables beneath the desk. back later.

Barbara said...

"Getting the words right." What a great answer. Isn't that what we're all trying to do? I guess some succeed better than others.

Megan said...

I love these posts but then I never can decide which bit to comment on!

Avid Reader said...

RL-- yes the kindness book in the first pic is by S. E.

I met a young woman at the library who was put off by her professor laughing at something descriptive she said about a paper she wrote-- she'd used an unusual but not archaic term, and she used it correctly--and he guffawed very loudly and repeated the word. She felt he was possibly making fun of her. He refused to explain when she asked why he laughed--he waved his hand dismissively and talked of something else ... anyway she left his office feeling put down, overly sensitive, confused, thinking maybe he thought she was silly... and she'd put so much effort into this paper... it meant a lot to her--she found herself trying to puzzle it out all day!

I forget now what the word was, but the usage was correct.

By guffawing like that without explanation... He was able to stress her out whether he meant to or not.

R.L. Bourges said...

Avid R: My guess is the word probably held associations for the professor that couldn't be foreseen by the student - which is probably why he waved her off.

So easy to get it wrong, isn't it? both at the saying (writing) and the hearing (reading) end.

My Classic Fiction Book List -Partial List

  • Austen, Jane: (Complete Works)
  • Balzac: Cousin Bette/ Eugenie Grandet / Cousin Pons
  • Best Russian Short Stories
  • Boyle, TC: Short Works
  • Brennan, Maeve : Short Works, 1 Novella
  • Bronte, Emily, Ann, Jane (Complete Works)
  • Brookner, Anita ( Complete Works)
  • Cather, Willa (Complete Works)
  • Chekov: Short Works
  • David Copperfield (Dickens)
  • Dickens:A Tale of Two Cities
  • Dickens:Great Expectations
  • Dickens:Nicholas Nickelby
  • Dickens:Our Mutual Friend
  • Dickens:The Old Curiosity Shop
  • Doyle, Roddy (some novels, memoir)
  • Drabble, Margaret (4 Novels)
  • Drieser, Theodore (Complete Works)
  • Fitzgerald, F.Scott (Most Novels & short works)
  • Hardy, Thomas (Complete Works)
  • Hemingway, Short stories
  • Hemingway: The Old Man in the Sea
  • Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises
  • Hugo: Les Miserables/Hunchback Of ND
  • James, Henry: Daisy Miller
  • James, Henry: In The Cage
  • James, Henry: Portrait of a Lady
  • James, Henry: The Golden Bowl
  • James, Henry: What Maisy Knew
  • James, Henry: Wings of a Dove
  • James, Henry:The Ambassadors
  • James, Henry; The Bostonians
  • Kerouac: Dharma Bums
  • Kerouac: On The Road
  • Kerouac: The Subterraneans
  • Kerouac: Tristessa
  • Lardner,Ring:Short Works
  • Larsen: Quicksand
  • Lewis, Sinclair: Arrowsmith
  • Lewis, Sinclair: Free Air
  • Lewis, Sinclair: Main Street
  • Lewis, Sinclair: The Job
  • MacGill, Patrick (Complete works)
  • Mackin, Walter (novels)
  • Maupassant: Short Works, novels
  • McGahern, John (novels of)
  • McNulty, John (Short Works)
  • Norris, Frank: McTeague
  • O'Brien, Edna (3 Novels)
  • O'Donnell, Paeder : Novels of
  • O. Henry
  • Potok, Chaim (4 novels/1 non fiction)
  • Salinger, JD : Nine Stories
  • Salinger: Franny & Zooey
  • Salinger: Raise High the Roofbeams
  • Salinger: The Catcher in the Rye
  • Sinclair, Lewis: Dodsworth
  • Sinclair, Lewis: Elmer Gantry
  • Sinclair, Upton: King Coal
  • Sinclair, Upton: The Jungle
  • Steinbeck, John: Sweet Thursday
  • Steinbeck: Winter of our Discontent
  • Steinbeck: Cannery Row
  • Steinbeck: East of Eden
  • Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath
  • Theroux, Paul (3 Novels )
  • Toibin, Colm: (Novels of)
  • Tolstoy: Anna Karenina
  • Tolstoy: Short Works
  • Turgenev (2 novels)
  • Twain: T Sawyer, Life on the Mississippi
  • Vonnegut: Early Works (1950s-60s)
  • Wharton, Edith: Novels of/Short Stories
  • Women & Fiction (Edit. Cahill)
  • Zola, Emile ( 10 novels)