Books acquired: “Funny Girl,” Nick Hornby.
Books read: “The Glass Teat,” Harlan Ellison; “Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant,” U.S. Grant.
February was a light month in some ways, only two books, but they totaled 900 pages. Also, February was light on days, with only 28. It all makes sense when you think about it.
My two books both date to my Illinois days but were never read until now.
Ellison’s “The Glass Teat” is a collection, the first of two, of columns he wrote from 1968 to 1971 for an underground weekly, the Los Angeles Free Press. He nominally critiqued TV, a medium for which he wrote. But they range far afield to talk about the tenor of the times. The results are very dated, dispatches from a moment in which society seemed on the brink and in which the Establishment seemed to be winning, but they’re of sociological interest for that reason. Also, he writes a lot about the Smothers Brothers.
Why I never read “The Glass Teat” or its sequel is just one of those things. I’ll get to the second book, “The Other Glass Teat,” in a few weeks.
I won’t say much about Grant’s “Personal Memoirs,” as I’ll have a column in the near future about them. Suffice it to say I was supposed to read the book for a college class but didn’t, and yet kept it all these years because I felt like I really should read it sometime. Now I have.
Have any of you read it? He’s a good writer, a sort of proto-Hemingway as far as direct, unadorned prose, although you have to be interested in the Civil War to slog through his descriptions of four years of battles and troop movements. I liked it, but I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone.
What did you read in February, if 28 days gave you time to finish anything?
Next month: lots of short books.