July 18, Wednesday evening -- Reading Fredric Jameson

After a day of bike messenging

Reading Postmodernism or (alternative title) The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, by Frederic Jameson. He was supposed to read it back in 1993 when he was writing his thesis, but wasn't able to because the book cost too much. Now that he can afford it, he wishes he'd read it earlier. It reads like a story, he said.

A favorite book--The Phenomenology of Perception, by Maurice Merleau Ponty.

The books that got him reading, when he was a freshman in high school, were, he said, guy books--Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger; Catch 22, by Joseph Heller; and Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut.

I wished I'd recommended to him The Immortal Class: Bike Messengers and the Cult of Human Power, by Travis Culley, which I learned about last summer on my bus trip.

He said he always reads with a pencil in his hand. You've got to mark things up.

I suppose it's common to read nonfiction with a pencil, but does anyone read fiction with a pencil (or pen, or highlighter?). The other reader I talked to today, who was reading fiction, said he dogeared pages of passages he liked.


Jen said...

I would never write on a book, even with a pencil (except textbooks for school). I sometimes, very rarely, dogear, but usually I just slip something between the pages where there's a quote I want to write down or something I want to read more about. Bookmarks, receipts, bus tickets, candy wrappers, anything goes.

Ms. B. said...

I wish I did. I like something, swear I'm going to remember it ... and then can't.

I teach school and I have gotten to the point where I don't mind if anyone dogears because it shows someone has read the book.

There is a name for comments in books about what is written. I kept an essay on it because I liked it so much. The essay was in Time.

Reading other's perceptions about what has been read is just another bonus that I would love to be able to do--kind of like commenting on blogs!!

Exile Bibliophile said...

Absolutely. Actually, it depends on the book. If it is a reading only book, then yes. Even fiction. I like to mark funny parts, or just put a little star by well written passages. I also sometimes make little notes about how the writer is making a story work or come together, etc.

aliqot said...

I sometimes do. I scrawl on cookery books when I change (improve?) the recipes.

I used to regard books as sacred objects, but then read about someone backpacking and tearing out the pages they had read, to lighten their load. And the best parts of any book are the pages which stay in your head. though beware, the head may change them without you noticing.

If I kept all the books I ever read, I wouldn't be able to get into my house. Now, I regard books as communal property, in theory, most of the time.

Scripter said...

For both fiction and non-fiction, I sometimes use miniature post-it notes to mark passages or quotes I like so that I can go back to them later.

Special K said...

I mark (pen, pencil, whatever's handy) in all the books I read (that are mine!) I want to be able to find special passages later. And, if I load it to a friend, they know which parts I like the most.

Dark Orpheus said...

I write on my books with a pencil. often it's to underline memorable passages, and things I would like to re-read. I do it for both fiction and non-fiction.

And with Post-It pads too.

Bill said...

I use pen in either fiction or non-fiction books, but I don't do it often.

I'll also write thoughts in the margins too.

Anonymous said...

I write in any book that I find intriguing enough to make a comment on. When I read On the Road in college I underlined so many wonderfully written passages and now I like to go back at look at those passages and remember how great they made me feel when I read them the first time. It is the next best thing to rereading the entire book.

Ronnica said...

I used to try to copy down quotes I liked but realized that was very inconvenient and I could never find what I did with them afterwards. Instead, I simply highlight...both fiction and non-fiction.

joe pettis said...

i like to write in library books

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