Posted by: Sally Ingraham | July 23, 2009

Reading Slump, The Tin Drum, and Potter

I feel like my reading has slowed way down this month. It’s busy enough at my jobs now that I don’t get to read at them very often, and I’ve been playing outside on my weekends, because the past couple have actually been beautiful. I have been paddling and bicycling and hanging out with friends. My boyfriend and I went the Vermont Brewers Festival this past weekend, in Burlington, which was a splendid adventure.

the guermantes wayBut my reading is suffering. I started The Guermantes Way by Marcel Proust on July 10th, to celebrate his birthday and end my month-long break from reading Proust. As of today I’ve only made it 20 pages in… However this works out all right because it means I can join Frances and Claire’s shared reading project. The deadline for finishing The Guermantes Way is November 6th. I should be able to make that!

Other books that I haven’t made much progress with are The Pickup by Nadine Gordimer, and my current OT Challenge read, Iphigenia (The diary of a young lady who wrote because she was bored) by Teresa de la Parra. About halfway through The Pickup I just lost interest, so I put into practice my new-found rebellion against the “you must finish the book” law and returned it to the library.

I’ll make more of an effort with Iphigenia, as I do like it fairly well. The main character is a little too self-absorbed and materialistic, but I identify with her use of writing to sort out what she thinks about the world as an inexperienced 18 year old. More about the book when I finish it…

The Tin DrumI watched The Tin Drum the other day. Directed by Volker Schlondorff (who made Swann in Love which I liked a lot) it won an Academy Award in 1979 for Best Foreign Film. What a weird movie!! It is about a German boy who at the age of 3, disgusted by the unhappy examples of grown up life that surrounds him, decides to never get any bigger. From that moment on he remains in appearance a 3 year old, and he goes through life pounding on a tin drum, and when life gets really unbearable, emitting a literally glass shattering scream. Germany moves toward Nazism and WW2 descends upon little Oskar, who continues to beat his drum. What was interesting to me was the fact that although his body didn’t grow, Oskar couldn’t stop his mental development or fend off all of life’s troubles by simply remaining small.

Books and movies and adventures, as always, and to top it off I am now dreaming about Harry Potter… We got the 6th film instalment for it’s opening run at Reel Pizza Cinerama. Tonight is the last night we will be playing it. We have sold out every single show – two per night – and even though I was fortunate enough to have several evenings off during that time, it has still been an intense working environment. I haven’t actually seen much of the film yet, but what I have seen looks pretty good – and it is now invading my dreams. Oh well, there are worse places to dream about than Hogwarts I guess!

Best wishes to everyone else who is striving to balance life and work and reading! 🙂


  1. I feel like this month is uniformly crazy for everyone I know. But at least your busy sounds pretty enjoyable! I liked the film The Tin Drum, but LOVED the book (by Günter Grass). I felt much more empathy with Oscar when I could be inside his first-person narration, and when i didn’t have to actually hear his high-pitched screaming! 🙂 Also, that part with the eels REALLY grossed me out.

  2. Sarah, I feel your pain. That is, I’d feel better about life if it allowed more reading and less work! Anyway, have a nice weekend! P.S. I have a different Teresa de la Parra book in my own TBR pile…but it keeps getting pushed further and further back. Looking forward to your review of Iph!

  3. Emily – Don’t remind me of the eels…yeck! I’m definitely curious about the book and intend to track it down. Thanks for the recommendation!

    Richard – I would like to read a bio of Teresa de la Parra, as she herself sounds like such an interesting person. Which book do you have?

  4. Am in a reading slump too! I had a list of eight books to finish in July, but so far have only made it to three. Zonks.

    Good luck in juggling life and reading. Don’t we all need it. 😀

  5. PS. Yay, we caught up with you on Proust!

  6. Mama Blanca’s Memories is the (English) title you asked about, Sarah. I agree that a bio of TdlP would be cool. Take care!

  7. I’ve been trying to get through An American Tragedy for I don’t know how many months now. Damn thing is almost 1,000 pages long. It’s currently on hiatus and I’m not sure when I’ll get back to it. So don’t feel too bad about The Pickup!

  8. Claire – I’m always super impressed by how much reading you get done, given your busy life. Glad you’re feeling better!

    Richard – Thanks!

    EL Fay – 1,000 pages? Yikes. I’m impressed you even picked that book up! Good luck, and thanks for stopping by. 🙂

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