November 7, 2007 by Tracey S. Rosenberg
My secret shame – the only one I’m revealing on this blog, at any rate – is that I hate reviewing books. The New York Times is hardly begging me by phone for 15000 words on Thomas Pynchon‘s latest opus, but I dislike having to explain why I do or don’t like a particular book. I read plenty, and I have letters after my name which indicate that I have successfully analyzed literature to the satisfaction of an accredited institute of higher education, but when I try to review something I generally feel that I’m reaching the emotional depth of ‘I laughed, I cried, it was much better than Cats.’ Also, I don’t seem to be in tune with a lot of modern fiction; recent books I failed to finish include Special Topics in Calamity Physics, The Time-Traveler’s Wife, and The Thirteenth Tale, even though by rights I should have gobbled up each of them based on their subject matter. All this to explain why the books in the sidebar may not be mentioned here in the blog; I may simply feel I have nothing to say about them.
I will point out, though, that Lady Chatterley’s Lover was less awful than I’d expected. This may be because a) it is not in fact cover-to-cover bonking, in spite of its reputation (and in fact I read it mainly because I wanted to know what it was really like), and b) I have a low enough opinion of Dave’s prose style that I probably only pick up half the sentences on account of my eyes are rolling a lot. I’ll still take Richard Aldington if I want any British between-the-wars anomie and masculine despair – which, at the moment, I can’t say I do.
But what I will do here on the blog is keep track of quotations. I used to have a quotation book, and if I ever dig it up I will regale you all with the things I thought worth keeping when I was a Tormented Adolescent ™. Item: two lines from Louise Bogan‘s poem The Gift, as quoted in Elizabeth Frank’s biography of Bogan:
Only her eyes speak, only her eyes
And the empty cup of her hand.