In preparation for the trip to Turkey, I have moved on from V.S. Naipaul’s Half a Life to the copy of Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red that my mother sent as a birthday gift. Somewhat surprisingly, I find that I get more non-fiction reading done when I intersperse it with chapters from good fiction. It lets you take a break while remaining in a reading mode, and achieve a bit more balance without compromising your ability to get things done.
Written from the perspective of someone who has died violently, but remained capable of immortal communication, the beginning reminds me a bit of Orson Scott Card’s macabre short story “Memories of my Head.” There is an interesting contrast in literature between those who have passed through death to be uncaring about worldly things and those, like this narrator, who remain concerned with matters like wealth and revenge. The most sensible view has always seemed to be that expressed in Emily Brontë’s “Song.” It is a great shame that she herself died so young.
Academically, I have mostly been reading for the seminar this Thursday. Interesting as they have been, it will be a great relief to have the weekly effort they require ended, allowing greater opportunity to focus on the thesis.