Monday, October 01, 2007

Crooked Island, Bahamas

Wind: W 20 knots, breaking surf on the beach, heavy rain and thunderstorms all day

Karl’s been asking me, “What in the world do you have to write about?” It’s a good question. Nothing, really. We’ve been getting through book after book, and I’ve been writing epic unsent emails to old high-school friends. Karl’s beginning to read at a pace almost as fast as I do. He made it through one of my recent favorites, The Beach, a book that makes me cringe with jealousy because its author, Alex Garland, was only 26 when he wrote it. I try not to clench my teeth too hard when I think about that.

Today he’s whipping his way through No Longer at Ease by Chinua Achebe, the famous Nigerian author. I don’t know if he bargained for a college course in literature when he met me--he’s run the gamut recently: modern Scandinavian fiction, nineteenth-century American classics, contemporary British novels, now classic African literature. Next on his list is The Tin Drum, a book written by the Nobel-Prize-winning German author that I found more than a little difficult, but it’s the last of the stack I brought with us. I’m rather more grasping at crumbs. I thought we would have left by now, so I didn’t bring anything for me.

I found a James Patterson thriller behind the seat of the truck yesterday that I ate my way through in less than 24 hours. Good God, what dreck. I’m always stunned by the inanity of popular fiction, even though I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by now. Is it just me, or do they seem to be getting worse? There were violent murder scenes in this book that seemed borderline pornographic. At the very best, they were titillating in a morally uncomfortable way. I suppose it’s not just American movies and television that export misogyny and sexual violence, but fiction, too. Books have to keep pace, after all. Look at their competition.

We’re reading Bill Bryson’s In a Sunburned Country together right now, but even that’s not going to last long at the rate we’re getting through it. We start at eight and get through about three chapters a night. It’s great, as all Bryson is, although one hesitates to believe the veracity of his every assertion, especially after reading A Walk in the Woods. It certainly makes me want to get to Australia, or at least do some desert exploration in the near future. Something that’s always been on my list of things to do (like bicycling from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego), is bicycling around Australia, inspired by a fantastic set of articles I read in National Geographic when I was in college. Reading this book, though, is making me realize what a vast and desolate endeavor that really would be.

Other than that, I don’t have much to report. Life is good, clouds are white, sky is blue, sea is green. Come to the Bahamas. You won’t regret it.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Melissa:

You should enjoy the Travis McGee
series of adventure stories by
John D. MacDonald. 32 million books in print should offer something for you. Trash it is not.

As a supporter of mysogyny and
antimysogyny, his appreciations are
balanced. And it proves he can spell. (don't mess with me, Melissa)
A Good Friend

Anonymous said...

You know the holiday's almost over when you pick up Günter Grass.

Si Campbell said...

I just bought "Things Fall Apart" for my wife. I have never read "No Longer At Ease". Perhaps we can trade;arrive Saturday.
Looking forward to trying the eating spots you refer to. Almost all were closed except Blackjack's when I was there in July.
Now in Nassau at Towne Hotel. Left the U.S. before we got your reply. Your blog has really helped us learn about the island. Si