Wednesday. Half a week, half a week, half a week onward. On through the City of Oakland rode the Proprietor, fifty cents short of a dollar, two cents short of a nickle, one week short of his road trip to Seattle.
It's Wednesday. You don't expect more.
Thursday. Another overcast morning with a nip in the air, another sunny mid-day and afternoon, a warm early evening, but not as warm as it was yesterday when I read a new book with the fan blowing over my body.
Surprised me too. A writer left a message on what I thought was my defunct guestbook saying she agreed with 89% of my 100 Books list, but why wasn't Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections and Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn included? Well, thought I, perhaps because I haven't read them. So I ordered them and started The Last Unicorn earlier this week. I see why she likes them. Franzen, I've heard of Franzen, and was pleasantly surprised when I skimmed a few pages. Nice sound and rhythm, nice style. Too bad I hadn't found him sooner. The Last Unicorn is evidently a classic, a book that was published to no great fanfare and then just kept selling and selling and selling. My paperback copy says it's the 24th edition. Published in 1968. Has a nice sound to it, does it not? The 24th edition?
I didn't know other people who read, really, until I came to San Francisco. My friends in high school all went to Harvard and Dartmouth and Yale and other similarly serious schools. They all wanted to be businessmen, work on Wall Street, make money, buy houses in Connecticut. They've all pretty much ended up in Connecticut, which is to their credit, but they weren't readers; they didn't have favorite authors; they didn't want to meet any writers to see if they were anything like their novels.
You have strange ideas when you're younger. (You have strange ideas when you're older, but you've learned not to talk about them.) So I couldn't talk to my friends about books and writers and I wasn't smart enough or driven enough to go out and look for some (friends who read the off the wall stuff I'd been reading). I realize in retrospect it never really occurred to me people actually set out to write books and become authors. It seemed a bit of fiction, somehow, as if writers were in some sense artificial beings, not unlike the characters in their stories. A chicken and egg thing. I was young. I had no idea.
So, anyway, I'm reading The Last Unicorn and I'll be reading The Corrections tomorrow and all any of this means is I haven't been reading for a long time and I picked up a book the other night about unicorns and I'm reading it. The excitement, the excitement.