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Listlessnesslessness - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Listlessnesslessness
All lists of stuff to do today; lists at work, trying to do proper task lists at useful levels of granularity instead of writing the thing that really needs doing at the top of the list and then adding lots of small and manageable things so that I have something to procrastinate into from the big thing. There's always one big guilty project and then lots of small bits and bobs. I'm getting better at using things that are actually-useful-but-not-at-all-urgent as my procrastination-food, rather than things that are actually just timewasting, but some days it feels like an uphill struggle to do anything. I know all sorts of useful GTD theories, I have found the wisdom of 43folders invaluable, but at the end of the day a lot of the getting-things-done comes down to just actually, you know, getting things done. Ticking things off the list.

Lists of music, too; we've been going through the Guardian's '1000 albums to listen to before you die' series, which is a bit like looking through the record collection of somebody whom you really like but don't yet quite get, if you see what I mean. It's a bizarre collection of interesting recommendations, pretentiousness, obviousness, obscureness, coolness and craziness. I'm ticking off a fair number of them. At home, the aim is to tick off more records than Owen; at work, the game's played the other way round, and being able to tick off more than anybody else means a concomitant loss of credibility. 'Humiliation', as played in Changing Places: what's the most famous book you haven't read? (Music-wise, at work, an honourable draw was agreed when we established that none of us had ever deliberately listened to a record by Elvis Presley.) High Fidelity: Mornington Crescent.

Listlessness: the state of mind one finds oneself in when one doesn't have a list of things to do, places to go, books to read, albums to listen to. Wandering aimlessly; wandering freely.
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Comments
gerald_duck From: gerald_duck Date: November 21st, 2007 11:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm impressed that the list contains so many of the albums I regard as esoteric masterpieces, and I should spend a while with my Amazon shopping basket in one window and that list in the other.

But… where's the classical music?
nja From: nja Date: November 22nd, 2007 01:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
The jazz selections (for the big names at least) are blindingly obvious ones, which isn't the case for most of the pop/rock/whatever selections. Anyone with the slightest interest in jazz will have heard "Kind of Blue" and "A Love Supreme", so what's the point in putting them in a list which seems to be intended to introduce people to new things?
keirf From: keirf Date: November 22nd, 2007 07:49 am (UTC) (Link)
what's the most famous book you haven't read?

Should be extended to read: "What's the most famous book that you have bought and owned for more than a year, and haven't read," or else there are just too many.

Of course obvious contenders are Ulysses - I've started that one five times, but I get stuck at the same place for some reason - and In Search of Lost Time - again, I got about 70 pages in. Was it you who bought the complete set off me? How are they going?

Coming to Finland has added a whole new set - Under A Northern Star and Seven Brothers are apparently must-reads. I keep offering the defense that I will read them in the original when my Finnish is good enough.
caramel_betty From: caramel_betty Date: November 22nd, 2007 10:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Bought but haven't read...
Of course obvious contenders are Ulysses

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For the more general question, I don't think I've deliberately read any Dickens all the way through with the exception of, I think, A Christmas Carol at school many years ago. Haven't read Moby Dick either. I'm actually very bad on much of the 1750-1900 period.

If we go for famous-including-Dan-Brown, I haven't read The Da Vinci Code which is probably the most famousest book EVER.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 22nd, 2007 12:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ulysses

Me three. :-/ In fact I own two copies of it and have read neither! (I even own 'The Bloomsday Book'.) Well when I say "haven't read" I mean "haven't finished". I've read the first two chapters, and the 'Circe' bit, and the ending.

HOWEVER I have made a personal resolution to read Ulysses and War and Peace before I'm 30. Haha.

I tried to read The Da Vinci Code, I really did. I made it through about 50 pages before giving up in disgust (having been slowed down quite a lot by pausing every other page or so to read out some screamingly awful phrase/sentence/paragraph to anybody within earshot). The writing is just abysmal.
keirf From: keirf Date: November 22nd, 2007 02:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Dan Brown (and Jeffrey Archer before him) write abysmal sentences, but I've worked my way through several of their books, and actually did start to enjoy them after a while. I thought that there has to be a reason why these guys are so popular, and I think the answer is that despite their poor writing style they are actually good story tellers. And when it comes to a entertaining novel to read on holiday you want a good story.

That said, the really bad sentences do jar you out of your suspension of disbelief.

I find I have a similar problem with the Harry Potter novels - although in that case it's not the writing style so much as the characterisation, and the predictability of the sub-plot structures.
caramel_betty From: caramel_betty Date: November 22nd, 2007 04:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I thought that there has to be a reason why these guys are so popular, and I think the answer is that despite their poor writing style they are actually good story tellers. And when it comes to a entertaining novel to read on holiday you want a good story.

My mum loves Jeffrey Archer for the stories. She'll happily read people with good writing style, but she'd prefer to read a good story that's badly written over a poor story that has glittering prose.

Edited at 2007-11-22 04:00 pm (UTC)
j4 From: j4 Date: November 22nd, 2007 05:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've managed to read a book of Jeffrey Archer short stories & enjoy it in a kind of braindead way, but The Da Vinci Code really did keep jarring me, as you say. And if I wanted ZOMG CONSPIRACY THEORY I'd re-read Foucault's Pendulum, or Illuminatus!... or even go back and re-read all those bloody von Daniken books I read as a teenager. I mean, I've read books by Graham Hancock which were less tossy than The Da Vinci Code. Maybe I should read "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" or whatever Dan Brown nicked it all from. Or watch the film, since the book read rather like a crap novelisation of a film... is the film any good?

I did enjoy the Harry Potter books, though, despite all their (many, various, obvious) flaws. Wasn't bothered by the predictability of the sub-plots because they were standard schoolfic -- I've read literally hundreds of school stories and it's probably the genre I'm most affectionate/forgiving towards.
sion_a From: sion_a Date: November 22nd, 2007 05:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
The standard view of The Da Vinci Code film is that it is superior to the book in that it wastes fewer hours of your life. Not that I've experienced either.

I've also never read any Jane Austen.
caramel_betty From: caramel_betty Date: November 22nd, 2007 06:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have, because I remember the inevitable "So, do you reckon she was a lesbian then, eh?" conversation. I don't remember the actual reading, however.
simont From: simont Date: November 22nd, 2007 02:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I didn't have a big problem with the writing style, oddly. I mean, I can see how bad it is when other people point it out, but I think my brain went numb quite quickly and I was able to persevere to the end of the book without the writing bothering me too much.

When I did that, I found that the plot was awful too.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 22nd, 2007 12:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, it was me and Owen who bought Proust from you, and no, we haven't read it yet... :-/

Oh dear. I am a cultural desert (like yoghurt).
keirf From: keirf Date: November 22nd, 2007 02:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, the seven pages where he describes his mum putting him to bed, or the five pages on eating a small cake are brilliant.
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