Happy Ada Lovelace Day! I feel just terrible that the science by women project I was so excited about doing this year has yet to get off the ground. Nicholas Carr talks about the distractions of technology in The Shallows, but let me tell you about the real distraction: books.
Yes, that’s right, more than the internet, more than television, more than brushing Dickens’ black cat fur off the legs of my tan pants, books are the biggest distraction. If my TBR list weren’t a mile long and my mountain of unread books didn’t require a sherpa to help me reach the summit, if publishers would stop publishing new books, if I would stop reading book reviews and blogs, and if all of you would stop telling me about good books, then maybe, just maybe I would manage to not be so very distracted.
But the year isn’t over yet, right? I still have a chance to get going on the project and nobody can stop me from continuing the project next year.
Now if only I could get rid of other distractions too like this article at the Guardian about Franz Kafka’s archive. His papers have been tied up in court for years (and if that isn’t irony then I don’t know what is), and an Israeli judge finally ruled that the papers belong at the Israeli National Library. The library said that they will make available the thousands and thousands of pages, including Kafka’s notebooks, online for free. It will be awhile before that happens, but how awesome is that? I’ve read The Trial and The Metamorphosis in the last two years and liked them very much. This news makes me want to read The Castle. See how books are such a horrible distraction?
And then there is a fun little essay, A Short Defense of Literary Excess in which Ben Masters disparages the spare and the drab and praises the embellished. He sticks to 20th century authors – Saul Bellow, Virginia Woolf, Christina Stead (I have to read her one of these days!), Angela Carter, David Foster Wallace, and Nabokov. Fine authors all. But when I think of literary excess I think of the Victorians and I think of Dickens and suddenly while reading the article I had an intense desire to plunge into David Copperfield. Distraction!
And now Litlove is twisting my arm to read either Howard’s End or A Room With a View. I think I might go with Room With a View. I am almost done with Anna K and that seems like it might be a nice way to switch things up a bit.
Do you see with all these distractions how I haven’t managed my science books? There are more distractions on the horizon too since I am in the hold queue on a couple of library books and my turn will come up when I am least prepared for them. Anyone know where I can get some book blinders? Or maybe Google makes goggles that filter out books from my line of vision? I need these badly because I just saw online that Hilary Mantel won the Booker and I’ve not read her yet and bought the paperback of Wolf Hall last spring and find myself thinking, hmm, I’ve got a two-week vacation at the end of December, wouldn’t it be so much fun to get lost in that behemoth?