Sunday Salon: Week Two

The Sunday

9 a.m.

This week has not been as readerly as I anticipated. I had thought I would have all the time in the world to read after I submitted my dissertation a few weeks ago, but it turns out that teaching prep and long-neglected housework can expand to fill any amount of time you allot them.

I did, however, pick up a copy of the first volume (1950-1952) of Charles Schulz's Complete Peanuts from the library this week, and found it so effortlessly thoughtful and wry that I immediately rushed out and ordered a copy of my own. In the very first strip, a little boy sees our hero approaching, baldly, and remarks to his wee friend with period quaintness: "Well! Here comes Ol' Charlie Brown! Good Ol' Charlie Brown .... Yes, Sir! Good Ol' Charlie Brown." He trails off as the smiling form recedes, and a furrow of discontent appears over his eyes: "How I hate him!"

This reversal really sets the tone for everything I have read so far; none of the cloying, eventless sentiment that we might associate with Peanuts in its later reign over the canon of classic comic strips. My comics-wise friend J had recommended this to me long ago, but I was a doubter. Well, now Complete Peanuts is to me what my Battlestar Galactica recommendation was to him: an endorsement that looked absurd on paper, and ended up being totally converting.

So, my goals for today: There is a lot of Ulysses yet to prepare for tomorrow's class, so that will undoubtedly loom large on my reading horizon (as if a tome like Ulysses could do anything but loom!). I would like (time permitting) to make a habit of reading a play and a graphic novel on each of these Sundays. This week: the first volume of Mark Oakley's Thieves and Kings, which has been recalled by the library, and George Ryga's The Ecstasy of Rita Joe, the depressing subject matter of which has doomed it to lurk on my "Currently Reading" list for far too long. I would also like to make a little progress in To Hate Like This is To Be Happy Forever (an account of the Duke-Carolina basketball rivalry), to soothe my fevered brain after last night's incredibly depressing Final Four game (I don't want to talk about it. Let's never speak of this tournament again).

On a practical note: last week my updates to my original post never - alas! - showed up in either my feed or Sunday Salon's. So this week I am going to post a series (possibly a series of two, but no matter) of separately published updates, and see whether that is the only solution to the problem. Does anyone have any alternate strategies to offer by way of advice?