Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cry “Havoc!” and Let Slip the Dogs of War (and Peace)

Yes, I’m finally jumping on the blog train. With just minutes to spare, as usual. First Facebook, now this. How will I ever keep my hard-won luddite cred?

Still, I feel the need to document my attempts to recover from academia and get back into such radical notions as reading for pleasure and taking advantage of life in the big city. While this blog will probably have a strong focus on books, I expect to bring up all aspects of pop and high culture, from Mad Men to Madama Butterfly.

Why now? Well, for much of the last twenty years, September has meant the start of a new year, a time for new projects. This fall, I’m particularly looking forward to exploring the world of opera with my first subscription to the San Francisco Opera. I’m also about to take on the biggest challenge of my reading year: War and Peace.

One of the things most responsible for my becoming a reader again was a friend’s 24-in-a-year reading resolution and challenge on Facebook. In a moment of weakness (or madness), I decided to up the stakes by making half of those books classics that I should have read already, but had never gotten around to. This idea had been lingering in the back of my mind ever since a conversation with a fellow professor where I was too embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t read Don Quixote. Other books on the list include Catch-22, Le Comte de Monte-Cristo, The Education of Henry Adams, Lord of the Flies, Macbeth, La Princesse de Clèves, and, of course, War and Peace. In my next post, I will discuss how I have dealt with the difficulties of getting through this challenge. In the meantime, I'd love to hear what would be at the top of your "should-read" list.

Last, but not least, I want to give a shout-out to Stasia, a fabulous blogger (among other things), who inspired me to get on this crazy train. Check her out at


SWK said...

Ooh, Sly, should I feel guilty for luring you into the giant time-suck that is the blogosphere? I'm going with "no" because I'm truly excited to read your thoughts on reading! Welcome to the insanity! - Stasia

EcoMeg said...

Awesome - I look forward to reading more!


Sarah said...

Sylvie - I will add you to my blog even though I haven't updated in quite awhile. If you want to follow it's

I look forward to reading more.


Dawn Simon said...

Welcome to the blogosphere! I found you via a comment at Stasia's blog. I agree: she's fabulous.

I, too, have a list of books that got away. LORD OF THE FLIES and THE SCARLET LETTER are near the top.

Sylvie said...

Thanks Dawn! I was pleasantly surprised by Lord of the Flies. I wish we had read that in high school instead of things like Ethan Frome and Mrs. Dalloway, which made no sense as a teenager.

sfmike said...

Welcome to the blogosphere, where there's always room for good writers like yourself. Looking forward to seeing what you do with this site, and you have been bookmarked!

By the way, "War and Peace" is wonderful but I was so disturbed when the major romantic hero dies about three-quarters of the way through, I couldn't finish it. And "The Count of Monte Cristo" is way better than expected, fun and easy to read while basically creating the template for every bit of escapist fiction up to the present moment. Be sure to go with the unabridged version which is thousands of pages but really, really good.

See you at the opera, and yes, I was one of the people booing those silly production people at "Werther" the other night.