Warning--Impending Usurpation of Blog for Selfish Purposes

I'm finding myself a bit motivationally challenged of late, having blown through an arbitrarily-set May 31 deadline for finishing a draft of this stupid book I'm working on (props to E. McCracken for noting, years ago, that the terminology for one's first novel is anything but "novel" [i.e., "project," "giant thingy," etc.] but that the second is always "stupid f*%&ing novel"). I also haven't been reading much of note--lots of crappy mysteries, but I'm feeling behind in terms of the good stuff. That's where the usurpation of the blog comes in--I have a plan that perhaps you'll be able to help me with. I'm making the second arbitrary deadline of the end of June a firm one, and after that I'm going to start catching up on my reading. I'm designating the month of July read-all-the-crap-people-keep-telling-me-about month, and I thought I'd post some thoughts on what I think, with the goal of eliciting similar comments from you guys because, frankly, I miss talking about this stuff with all of you. Or at least those of you whose user names I can remember.

And here, just to give a sense of the plan, I'll start early. I just finished Rivka Galchen's Atmospheric Disturbances, which I found very readable and intelligent but somewhat unsatisfying. It's about a man who believes, upon his wife's return home one day, that she's actually been replaced by a simulacrum of herself. Though the phrase "Capgras syndrome" is never mentioned, anyone who's read Richard Powers's The Echo Maker will likely call it to mind. Given that the main character is a psychiatrist (and therefore a medical doctor), the missing term looms a bit too large for my taste, though I'd be curious to hear what others think, if anyone's read it. (And I do recommend the Powers--really enjoyed it.)


TLB said...

You have to finish the book, because I'm going to ask you to read mine and we need to share.

I've been reading nothing but novel research lately though I can tell you that you might like Dava Sobel's Galileo's Daughter. Though it's not as much about her as it is about him, since she was a cloistered nun and therefore didn't have much of a life. Mostly it's about him and uses her letters to illuminate the domestic concerns of his life.

Brando said...

I Love You Beth Cooper. Totally unoriginal, yet really funny in many places. Perfect for the summer.

I also enjoyed Mary Roach's Spook, a tongue-in-cheek look about scientific attempts to study life after death.

Vampiro said...

I've been enjoying Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure, which I find utterly engrossing. It also has a structure and design to it that inspires me to start structuring and designing some stupid thingy of my own again.

Grendel said...

Wish I could help. Have retreated to the oldest classics, filling in large education gaps. Ovid's Metamorphosis (Gregory trans) really rocks, btw. Iliad is good, but Odyssey is about 19 times better.

John said...

I loved Atmospheric Disturbances. And she shouldn't have used that term at all -- that would take the mystery and the universality out of it. What's powerful is the emotions and the crazy turns of events of the character. If she used a scientific/psychological term, it would change the tenor and focus of the novel.