NOW READING: None To Accompany Me by Nadine Gordimer
I didn't really know what to expect going in to this book. She is definitely an author of whom I had no real idea, no real feel for the work, beyond that she's revered and prize-winning. Well, the book is quite serious in tone and very emotional-novel-like, but it also throws in observations that reveal a kind of wit under her surface. Example:
"Bennet Stark carved wood and modelled clay but while recognition for his work in this vocation seemed long in coming had had to make use of a conventional degree he had earned when too young to know what he wanted to do. Bennet Stark was known, behind his back at the Department of English in the university where he worked, as Our Male Lead; as if he were responsible for his looks and the mixture of resentment and admiration these aroused. From the point of view of advancement in an academic community it's a bad sign to have some advantage that is simply a gift of nature, not earned and not attainable for others by any amount of hard work, lobbying or toadying." - p. 19
I love it. First of all, I empathize with the artist/academic debate. As I have amply pointed out in these here blog pages, why should we have to choose? Why can't we be creators and nerdy professors holed up reading and researching? Not that I want to spend my life researching, I'm realizing more each day. But say someone such as Bennet does want that. Why can't he be both? And more things besides? I like how she points out we earn our degrees when we're too young to know what we want to do (with them). Although, do we ever know that? I'd imagine not. Or if we do know, does it come to us suddenly, even a few years after earning a degree, in some fiery epiphanic burst? I'd even more imagine not.
Secondly, how funny about stuffy academia! How dare he be good-looking, eh!
Damn, I love me some non-traditional academics. And on that note, I must sleep now, as my research awaits me in the morning...