Sunday, July 19, 2015

"More effort to read than it took to write..."

A post at Ricochet by a guy who identifies himself as "tabula rasa" notes some advantages of advancing age: "One of the greatest blessings of age is that there comes a time when you can completely ignore things and people who would otherwise irritate you. ...."

He provides three examples of things he has decided to ignore: Jimmy Carter, "All Math Higher Than Calculating a Percentage," and "Lousy Modern and Post-Modern Novels," about which:
I finally read Ulysses last year. I’m glad I did it, but I’m not going there again (so much brilliance expended for so little value). I’ve read some stuff by Virginia Woolf, but I wish I had the brain cells back. I refuse to read any book that requires more effort to read than it took to write and produces even less enjoyment.

Sorry John Updike, Philip Roth, Virginia Woolf, Norman Mailer, Toni Morrison, Don Delillo, Thomas Pynchon, and a host of European writers whose names I never actually knew, I’ve decided I don’t need you – I don’t even need to think about you. Ever. I like books with beginnings, middles, and ends (in that order). That’s why I like the great ones: Homer (yes, I know it’s really poetry), Austen, Dickens, Trollope, Conrad, and Cather.

I no longer feel that I must deny that I really like good fantasy and sci-fi. And children’s books. I love the good ones. I’ve received more pure enjoyment from The Wind in the Willows and The Chronicles of Narnia than from any contemporary novelist (Marilynne Robinson excepted). Not only do I no longer have to read lousy novels, I no longer have to pretend to have read them, or that I even know their names or who wrote them. I realize that this might make me a barbarian. Who cares? I now ignore people who call people like me a barbarian. ....