June 21, 2008

I'm on page 18!

I may have mentioned before that I have a lot of nostalgia for the Cold War. I wish we were still in the Cold War, because I think it would beat the current warm/hot war by a long shot. I loved The Spy Who Came In From the Cold ... the film more so than the novel. I think I would have made a great Cold War spy, because I'm content to live with contradictions. I'm more an egologue than an ideologue. I get along well with people, even people I don't like. I'm nondescript. The perfect spy! Note that I'm talking about being a LeCarre-slash-Graham Greene style spy, not a James Bond type. I know my limitations ... and the dinner jacket is beyond them.

Okay, I'm going to come clean. My lingering Cold War suspicions are, I must confess, largely fabricated to justify my ignorance of Russian literature ... and the whole spy thing is just a smoke screen (Or ... is it?). Usually when I brag about being ignorant of something, it means I'm getting read to read it ... in this case, I've begun reading Anna Karenina. My copy is a Modern Library edition with a few color illustrations ... probably more than 50 years old. It smells a little--like old books. This makes it even more fun to read ... after all, how should it smell? I have to say, so far so good ("so far" being page 18). When people I respect recommend a book to read, I generally add it to my list. It's already a hell of a lot better than A Tale of Two Cities, the last book somebody shamed me into reading. And before that it was The Scarlet Letter, the most overrated book in American literature.

In other Cold War news, I saw Get Smart today. It was better than I thought it would be, I must confess. Predictably, they changed the character of Maxwell Smart somewhat--but it's a feature film, not a half hour sitcom, so it makes sense. Steve Carell has a lot more depth to him than we ever saw in Don Adams. So the film was entertaining without being any smarter than it needed to be. For what it's worth, it exceeded my expectations, but that's not saying a while lot.


Anonymous said...

Let me ruin it for you: she dies. Mark the page when you start wishing she would die; we'll compare notes.

Yould should take photos of the illustrations and post them on your blog. One or two at least.

Tom said...

My summer reading also involves a great big book I probably should have read years ago: Don Quixote (when Rose and I were driving around England, we heard a radio discussion of the novel, there apparently called "Don Quicksut"). I'm on page 223. Only 717 pages to go.

We saw Get Smart, too, and found it surprisingly entertaining.

Rosemary said...

Several years ago, I made a vow to read one book every summer from my mental list of "books I feel guilty about never having read."

So far, I've gotten through _Moby Dick_, _Uncle Tom's Cabin_, and _Middlemarch_. There must've been others, but I don't remember them right now (so maybe I wasn't missing much after all).

This summer, it's _Heart of Darkness_. Yeah, I know--it's not even that long.

Michael said...

Atlas Shrugged took me 2 summers. This summer, I'm going to take another shot at Magister Ludi: The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse. It's an old, slightly yellowed Bantam mass market edition that smells and feel perfect!