Lately, I've been reading several blogs in which the blogger (or whatever the agent version of the word "blog" is) keeps tabs on the literary scene, i.e. reviews, important publications, cat fights. I'm thankful that they give me a glimpse of the world outside my romantic/avant-garde cave, but their dedication to lit has left me wondering if, perhaps, I'm not cut out for this life. Perhaps I should find a 9-to-5 job and make mail art in my spare time while listening to This American Life. Admittedly, I don't feel bad that I won't be raving about Pat Barker's latest novel since the conclusion will probably be, like every other conclusion she's ever written, too tidy and simple-minded or recommending bad translations of decent novels, but I should really read the new Coetzee book. Actually, I should have read at least one Coetzee book by now. On the other hand, I don't think, however, that I will ever want to pour over the The New York Times Book Review or any other book-review section again, especially in light of the poor quality of the reviews, which summarize, but fail to tell the reader anything. One of my favorite examples of how not to write a review was a discussion of the new edition of Babel''s collected works. The reviewer failed to comment on the quality of the translation, something I thought would have been of paramount importance for a volume of work published in a language different than that in which it was written (Was that a Russian construction? I'm getting confused again).

I guess that all this is to say, I should get out more, see the world, witness some popular culture, read what everyone else says is good, I'm just finding it a difficult thing to do in my first, second, and third languages. Although I could say that being aware of the problem is half the battle, I'm not buying that, it seems like a cop out. To be continued...

I have angst! Tonnes of it! I think that K. may strangle me or at least give me a good thwack before the night is over. -Zh.


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