Thursday, January 09, 2003

The latest book I finished was Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop. This book was exhibit two of how graduate school in the humanities ruins your life. (Exhibit 1 came while watching football last weekend when I deconstructed a not-particularly-noteworthy commercial in about 5 seconds and then explained it out loud for a minute and a half--and did so without really trying.) All I could think about during this book were the strange echoes of eugenics, "scientific racism", and racial physiongnomy that kept popping up--as they will in books from the 1920s--and I could never drown this out long enough to just enjoy the book. The alternate explanation is that the book just wasn't that enjoyable, which is also possible. And part of it is probably that I have very little interest in reading about Catholic faith. Still, I loved My Antonia, so this was a big disappointment. I just don't think Cather understands the place and times (New Mexico in the 30 years after Guadalupe Hidalgo) to the same degree she did the Nebraska prairie of her own youth. Perhaps if you've never read anything about downtrodden, oppressed people this book will have something to say to you, but since grad school screwed me up for real life by making me read that sort of thing for four years, this book didn't tell me much, and I felt like there were a few things I could tell it.

As for the new job, not much to report really. So far so good, but next week the deluge will start. In the meantime, I'm stuffing envelopes, typing, copying, filing, blogging (ok, not technically in my job description), and teaching myself the parts of Microsoft Office that I don't already know.

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