Not illiterate. Yeah!
So, while my wife’s stunning reading speed and stamina may actually make me appear to be, at best, semi-literate, I, too, can read books cover to cover on occasion. I typically read three books at a time or so, which is a very bad idea, but I can’t shake the habit.
The book I just finished, after about six months and more fines than the book is worth, is World Light by Halldor Laxness. I got turned on to Laxness when I worked at Yale, where I just fell in love with hearing George Schoolfield pronounce Laxness’s name in that lovely acquired Scandinavian accent of his. Problem is, Laxness writes wickedly dense prose, and I say this having read thousands upon thousands of pages of Thomas Mann. Mann is practically Danielle Steel compared to Laxness. Fluff. There’s a reason Laxness won the Nobel in the 1950s.
So why the fines? Well, apparently because I’m an idiot. I had previously checked out and read Iceland’s Bell at the Manhattan PL, and while returning that, I grabbed World Light in a fit of optimism. Oh, I’ll just knock this out, I thought. Ha! Turns out, I just checked the catalog of the library in which I work and, yes, we do have the book, sitting about forty paces from my desk. I’m rather peeved at myself. At least this little search revealed to me that we also have Independent People and Paradise Reclaimed, the next two Laxness titles I want to read.