A couple days off books

Between the 3-day weekend and the weather in New York City, the sense that Summer Is Over and All Change is fully upon me.  I was looking at a heap of New York, The New Yorkers, The New York Review of Books and The London Review of Books going back to late May, which I hadn’t looked at all.  I decided to polish them all off — once a magazine is a couple month old, it’s much easier for me to go through it in a piratical attitude–I’ll seize the gold and abandon everything else.  Articles that are obviously the work of months of investigation, reporting, writing, in The New Yorker are dismissed with a slap of the turning page.  Everything in the front of the book, and The Talk of the Town, might as well skip because it’s old news by now, and anyway I dislike the way the magazine does Talk pieces thee days. The fiction by writers I’ve never heard of or don’t especially like: skipped!  (It annoys me that the magazine publishes novel excerpts, leaving me feeling, when I get to the end, that I’ve been cheated of the resolution of a proper short story.)  Reviews of films that have already come and gone from theaters, and anyway I’m so uninterested in movies anymore, I’m all about TV–page turned unfazed.  As of now I’m caught up on the glossies., having read a few articles, a couple of fiction pieces (Garth Greenwell IS terrific, and even though his piece reads like a chapter excised from his recent novel, it does stand as a proper short story), the TV and book reviews.

The two literary tabloids, except for their political pieces, aren’t as urgent; a book review is still interesting or not no matter how freshly published.   I’ll probably be done with those by Sunday evening.

The type in these mags, now that I’m of une certaine age, is a strain.  Over the last couple years I’ve developed a retinal problem in my left eye — benign and anyway inoperable, I’ve been told — but meanwhile, causing a blurry spot in the vision that means I’m essentially reading with one eye, and often find it easier to take off my multifocal specs and just hold the magazine or book up close to my face, like some inquisitive lady mole.




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