Sorry, again, for the long gap. I've been taking a bit of a reading break to concentrate on another project...one I can't talk about just now.
Anyway, the last book I read was The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. My first (and only, aside from a brief linguistic analysis in college) encounter with Hemingway was A Farewell to Arms, which I read as a junior in high school. I had very little use for the simplistic style and the macho factor; I much preferred Fitzgerald and Faulkner. Recently, though, Michelle convinced me to give him another chance, that this was his most readable novel. And I did like most of it, though I struggled to get through the bullfighting scenes. And the drinking! My God, the drinking! If I put away four bottles of wine in one meal, I'd probably make bad decisions, too. Actually, I'd probably be unconscious.
More than that, though, I could see clearly (much more than being told, or in high school) the influence Hemingway had on subsequent novelists. I can appreciate that. It's similar to how I feel about the Pixies. I never really listened to their music; I just knew of and about them. And I'm going to see them play their album Doolittle this Friday, in their hometown, Boston. I realize this is a big deal. Like Hemingway, I appreciate and recognize their influence. But listening to them, and reading Hemingway, feels a bit more like conscious self-education than pure enjoyment. (Though maybe that's good for me.) Does that say something about my generation or my personality - that I like the derivative more than the original? I don't know.