Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Speaking of quality & quantity

As the first half of the year ends, I count 38 books read thus far in 2010. Thank you New York City public transit workers for whisking me to and fro, freeing me to read as you deliver me to where I must go.

Some of the books were very good. Some not so much. Reading so many, though, does the sheer number turn into something else?

In my case, at this moment, it turns into a kind of mush. Like my mind. I'm tired, limping along as the work days dwindle to my summer vacation. This week and next week, and then I'm off for four weeks. (Hurray for seniority and a union contract!) So it may be inevitable that the books toward which I find myself turning right now are not uniformly Serious Material. Seems like I'm leavening my reading fare, interpolating at least an occasional lighter volume amid the more worthwhile and meaningful. Today, for example, I read an entire book, light as a breeze, inoffensive, pleasant, piquant yet far from insipid: Laura Rider's Masterpiece by the always reliable Jane Hamilton.

I've got a pile of books ready for vacation, a mix of the more and the less in terms of art and relevance. During my first week off I plan to tackle the summer horror blockbuster The Passage by Justin Cronin. This one's been touted all about as the literary vampire tale. I can only hope. It's possible I've been bamboozled once again, as with Vacation 2005 and my The Historian fiasco; that one was also a highly praised, supposedly literary, vampire novel that turned to be one long, unimaginative, poorly written anticommunist rant. Here's hoping I fare better with The Passage.

Yes, even a red reader sometimes just wants to be entertained.