So much for the pattern; through M&D, he published an encyclopedic, historical sprawl followed by a shorter, “contemporary” thing focussing on NoCal. But the newest thing, said to be called Against the Day, is nearly a cool grand (992 pp), and judging by what few descriptions there are (including Pynchon’s own blurb), it is every bit as vast as the Big Three.
Speaking of vast, I’m taking another breather from Proust — only 1700 pages into it, and already it has formed a strong seasonal bond with long winter nights. My reading & rereading habits are often seasonal. Summer inspires me to reread Thoreau and the Odyssey (trnsl. Fitzgerald), and now I’ve been sucked into Crime & Punishment for the first time since 1989. Riveting! But all that, and the others stacked up around me, may have to wait while I dive into Mason & Dixon: it’s the only one I haven’t yet read, even once. I despair: I’m in the middle of about thirty books right now. Faster Pussycat: Read, read!
Based on the actuarial tables, I only have maybe 35 or 40 more years. Assume two books a month; that’s still only just under 1000 books. And what about rereads, which is essential for any good book? (eg, read Walden ten times or not at all.) Do they count toward the total? This is a terrible line of thought. If no more new books came out ever again, there are still well over 5000 books I NEED to read. Not to mention the ones I need to write. Who has time for work, let alone eating or sleeping? And shit: we have Season 2 of Sports Night in the house — that’s time away from reading, too! Can I have some clones, please, like in Calvin & Hobbes?