...Along with my celebrity rants, I'm going to attempt to retain a frisson of intellectualism by writing book reviews. I read a lot (I lead a rich and fulfilling life too but I read loads, mostly on my 20 minute bus journey to and from work).
One thing I hate doing most, and which I have just succumbed to, is giving up with a book before the end. I did this with 'Herzog' by Saul Bellow. A formidable american literary God, of that there is no doubt, but I just found this book too taxing and too heavyweight for my current literal pursuits. I did get to page 170 though, so feel slightly smug (but not that smug);-)
Moses Herzog is a fading jewish intellectual, who has a seriously fucked up marriage behind him and a series of questionable relationships with women. Unsurprisingly, he has an embitterred, somewhat sexist view towards women, frequesntly referring to them as 'bitches' and describing their physical characteristics. He is a depressive and is nearing breaking point as the book proceeds. We get to hear of his background; his family, friends and women.
As part of the process of 'losing his mind' he starts writing mad, rambling letters to everybody from Eisenhower, to Hegel, to the clergyman who converted his wife. Some of these letters border on the genius, some of them are rambling, intellectualised monologues, full of pedagogy and polemic. If I was in a more studious mood, I would have probably persevered, but it all became too 'clinical'. Bellow is obviously a formidable intellectual, and this is a superb book but it's one that I'm just not in the mood for reading at the moment!
Have just started 'Eleanor Rigby' by Douglas Copeland. Will review this when I've finished.