Sunday, 28 June 2015

Theodore Dreiser, Norman Mailer, Ken Barlow, Leo Tolstoy, Audrey Roberts

One of the ways that I have been filling the emotional and intellectual void created by no longer having to travel long distances to view PowerPoint presentations in darkened rooms, is by reading. I've made an effort to read some classic authors, particularly non-British.

I started with Americans, Dreiser, Mailer, Steinbeck, loved 'em all, read a couple of each. Then I was given a tip By Ken Barlow from Coronation street, international readers should google Coronation Street, British readers all know Coronation Street and Ken Barlow, if they pretend not to they should also pretend not to read this blog.

The high brow Ken Barlow recommended Tolstoy's Anna Karenina to hairdresser Audrey Roberts, Audrey gave up after a few pages and there ensued a long period of deception on Audrey's part regarding her progress with the book. Ken Barlow described the book to Audrey in such glowing terms that I decided  I would suspend the Americans in favour of a bit of Russian.

Ken Barlow smirks at inflicting Anna Karenina on Audrey


I wandered off to the classics section (shelf) of Oswestry Library, and there was Anna Karenina, it's a weighty tome of nearly 1,000 packed pages. I can say with confidence that no book has ever had such an effect on me. Never before have I woken in the morning first thinking of a book, never has a book invoked such a sense of dread and loathing at the prospect of having to read more of it. Vaguely interesting characters face various situations which are dealt with in the most excruciatingly boring fashion, tangents abound, there is much talk of agriculture, art and politics, eventually each of the situations reaches a climax which is dealt with is such a perfunctory fashion that the page numbers have to be checked, because surely some must be missing, this happens many times. In the end I was counting the remaining pages and calculating the remaining days of torture if I read at the limit of human endurance.

Audrey Roberts after reading 20 pages on mowing
It's my fault, long ago I decided that life was too short to persevere with books that do not suit me, I've given up on Heller, Roth, Dan Brown, Dickens, Hairy Bikers and many others, but this time it was impossible, why? Not because I'm worried about being labelled a philistine; I know I'm no match for Ken Barlow. It's all about ego, because to give up would put me in the same class as Audrey Roberts, surely I'm better than a backstreet hairdresser.
Fuck off Tolstoy

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