Reading at the End of the World
by: Jason Rekulak | 05.06.2012
What will I do if the world is ending in six months?
I will read Moby Dick. I’ve started it lots of times, sure, but I’ve always given up before the Pequod sets sail. It’s such a big, daunting book. I always figure I’ll read it another day, maybe on my next vacation. But you’re telling me there’s just six months left? Okay, I will finally read Moby Dick. I don’t want to die without having read Moby Dick.
And Crime and Punishment. Why can I never get more than 200 pages into Crime and Punishment? It’s about an axe-murderer, for crying out loud! I should love this book! Yet I’ve tried to read it three times, and I’ve never finished it. If I have just six months to live, I will finish Crime and Punishment.
And The Odyssey. And Heart of Darkness. And A Passage to India. I was assigned all of these books in high school but I never read them; I was too busy sneaking comic books under my desk. I’m such a phony! I’ve spent the last twenty years expressing familiarity with these titles, nodding with recognition every time they’re mentioned in conversations, but now that the world is ending, there’s no point in faking it any longer. I still need to read these books.
If there’s still time, I’ll read more by Edith Wharton, Jennifer Egan, Jeffrey Eugenides, Richard Price, Dennis Lehane, and Rohinton Minstry. I’ll read something, anything by Anthony Trollope (I know people love him — I’ve never tried him). I’ll try Stephen King’s Dark Tower series because Quirk’s Art Director is always raving about it -- and what better way to finish up my six months with a series about a gunslinger moving through an arid desert? Maybe I’ll pick up some useful pointers for the post-apocalypse.
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