Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Buddha and Harry Potter Against The Day
At my partner's condo in Palm Springs, I've been trying not to worry about being broke while worshiping the 45 palm trees that grace the complex.
I've also been indulging in my version of the "slow food" movement with a personal "slow book" movement, taking on three huge fictional masterpieces and savoring them at the same time.
The "Harry Potter" series, all 4,000 pages of it, has been read in large, quick gulps over a number of years as the author has published them. I was apprehensive about diving into the last installment, fearing that the book wouldn't have a satisfying conclusion, but two trusted friends have pronounced it wonderful even though they both agree that a short epilogue is totally stupid.
With Thomas Pynchon's 1,085-page historical fantasia, I joined a number of strangers from around the world who created an informal online book blog called "The Chumps of Choice" (click here) where a dozen of us take turns playing moderator each week for a 15-40 page section. We started in November 2006 and have reached page 820, with the end in sight for sometime this winter. I don't think I've ever read a book so slowly and so closely and it's been a revelation.
This has led to the slow absorption of the 8-volume, 3,000-page philosophical fantasia by the late Japanese anime/manga pioneer Osamu Tezuka, following the life and times of Buddha. Though it would be easy to flip through the entire illustrated work in the space of a day or two, I find myself slowly digesting one chapter, putting it down for a couple of days, and then rereading before going on to the next section. It's too bad I'll have to get serious about work before reaching nirvana.