One of the people I became fascinated with through reading the Buster Keaton book was Robert Sherwood. The library didn’t have much on him, but I put stuff on hold. The play was great but what I was really interesed in was his film criticism which, arguably, he invented. So I guess it goes Sherwood–Agee–Kael–Ebert–TBD and so I needed to read the OG, right?
This book met that need (barely—all it has is a jokey essay about kids these days learning geography from movies), but holy smokes look who else is here: P.G. Wodehouse, Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, Douglas Fairbanks, Gertrude Stein, A.A. Milne, Edna St. Vincent Millay, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Noel Coward, Carl Sandburg, Jean Cocteau, T.S. Eliot, Bertrand Russell, Colette, E.E. Cummings, Aldous Huxley, Langston Hughes, Sherwood Anderson, Clarence Darrow, Ford Madox Ford, Walter Winchell, Theodore Dreiser, D.H. Lawrence, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., William Saroyan, Thomas Wolfe—and a bunch of other people I’ve heard of less but might be similarly interesting? I mean, I loved Syyed Shaykh Achmed Abdullah’s piece. And I tell you—it made me nostalgic for turn-of-the-century Afghanistan. Which sounds much hepper than today's. (?)
So while I can’t possibly read all of these, I just want to say that this is a book to get from the library and read 20% of. Hoo.
The first piece is by Wodehouse and it called me out:
A man who does anything regularly is practically certain to become a bore. Man is by nature so irregular that, if he takes a cold bath every day or keeps a diary every day or does physical exercices every day, he is sure to be too proud of himself to keep quiet about it. He cannot help gloating over the weaker vessels who turn on the hot tap, forget to enter anything after January the fifth, and shirk the matutinal development of their sinews. He will drag the subject into any conversation in which he happpens to be engaged.
This is essentially a thesis statement for this blog. Writing down every book I read? What a bore.
Believe me: I know it. That’s a big part of why I do it here. If you’ve subscribed, you chose to be bored by me!
At least I don’t write about every unfinished book!
Although, if I did, would have been able to link to Agee as well.