When I get the opportunity, (which is not as often as I would like), I'm reading "Cultural Amnesia" by Clive James at the moment. It is an astonishing book. Each chapter has a different person as a starting point, and then you are finding yourself wandering down all kinds of paths to new places and sudden viewpoints. I have shown both editions of the book: the earlier one (on the right) is subtitled "Necessary Memories from History and the Arts". The later edition has "Notes in the Margin of My Time" on the cover.
What do I mean - "when I get the opportunity"? It's the kind of book that you need proper brain-space to read. It's no good at all treating it like a penny-dreadful, or even a pound-quite-good-page-turner. It is a Proper Read, not to be squandered on a half-attentive mind. So that puts it out of reach most days and most nights.
I'd always thought that Clive James was a clever man but this book is dizzying. I am being so EduCated that I'm thinking of changing my name to Rita.
I read it on my Kindle, which makes it very easy to highlight passages for future follow-up. Too easy; last week, my Kindle starting crashing and suddenly shutting down because of the size of the "My Clippings" file which stores all the references.
What do I find to highlight? Well, I now have a long reading list of poems and novels to read, and a kind of feeling that it would be better if, like him, I could read them in the original Spanish, or Italian, or French or German. He recommends having parallel texts in English and the native language. I haven't done that kind of thing since reading Chaucer for O-levels.That will mean buying lots of books, of course, unless I get another Kindle...
So I have two routes for future café/train journey/hospital reading interludes:The techy solution will require 2 Kindles and my phone. Kindles for parallel texts, phone for writing notes (mines a Samsung thingy with a pen-thingy and "Docs-to-go" Works well enough - I typed most of this blog entry on it, and emailed it to myself for finishing off later. However all these devices will continually slope off into hibernation mode given half a chance, unless you keep joggling them.
The steam-power solution requires two books, two dictionaries (one in English, one in the foreign language) notebook and pen. They will all be better at staying awake, but now I'm talking about kilos of stuff to lug around with me. hmm again.
Oh, and by the way, here's a solution to an over-filled "My Clippings" file on your Kindle.Go to https://kindle.amazon.com/your_highlights (that's an underscore between "your" and "highlights"). You will need to log on to your amazon account, and then you can get at "My Clippings", and select what you want to keep. I copied and pasted it all into a Word document to sort through and organise later. The blog post that I discovered this info from suggests you can use your "Evernote web-clipper" to save your file - but I don't know what that is. So Word it is for me.