this past week: i've read a couple chapters of Justina Robson's Living Next-Door to the God of Love, about half of China Mieville's Un Lun Dun, a few pages of Geoff Ryman's The King's Last Song; spending more time than i should in various bookshops, i read bits of Geling Yan's The Uninvited, John Connely's The Book of Lost Things, Ryu Murakami's Piercings, David Mitchell's Ghostwritten and Black Swan Green, a sizable serving (yet barely a chunk) of Umberto Eco's The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana. i enjoyed some of these more than others; either way, i willingly subjected myself to their diversion, but was diverted only for as long as each book was in my hands.
i scrabbled from book to book, churning with a kind of placid desperation.
i'm no longer the voracious reader i used to be; i suppose i do still read for a sort of escape after all, but i no longer find it as satisfying to be so passive. i find it more and more difficult to be drawn into worlds painted for me, constructed entirely from another's imagination.
reading about magic and literal wonders has become, for me, wearisome: words are symbols, Alan Moore reminds us, and are thus themselves magical; the use of words to describe magic and literal wonders in the direct terms of comfortable fantasy and science fiction seems to me not only trite, but disinheriting, even unnecessary, as though one cannot help but undercut the power of the other.
and yet i cannot do without that strangeness...the weirdness of some of the more estranged books in the 'modern lit' shelves just isn't the same thing.
so what can i do? Elizabeth Hand, M. John Harrison; they seem to be the only ones in my library capable of making that translation, of successfully transcribing real wonders with as little entropy as possible.
i'm afraid they're the only ones who really do it for me these days.