Back in college I took a two-semester course called "Great Books," wherein all we did was read and discuss (and I suppose there were some papers?) great books. The professor provided a list of 100 great books (it wasn't the Time 100, or any other known list, just the professor's own, but there was obviously a substantial overlap with such lists) and we read maybe 12 - 15 books a semester. A couple times a year I'll pick up one that I haven't read yet. Someday I'll get through the list. Maybe.
Anyway, over the past several months I managed to slog my way through one of the books on that list: Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man. I see why it was on the list, because it's certainly an "important" novel. But good grief was it boring. Most of the books on that Top 100 list are actually enjoyable reads (some of them surprisingly so). This one was not. For those who don't know (and I admit, I didn't before reading it), the story follows a young African-American in the late 1920's/early 1930's, and basically has him bounce from one thinly veiled social criticism to another. There is a solid use of irony, and I expect discussing the book as you read it would make for a more rewarding experience. But as a story itself, it's fairly bland. In some ways it reminded me of Kafka's The Trial, with the futile struggle of an individual against unknown powers who aren't really understanding the experience and importance of the individual (at least, that's what I remember about Kafka...).
On a more rewarding note, I also read some comics this past month. Specifically, I caught up on the end of Amazing Spider-man, which was pretty cool. I don't want to give any spoilers, so if anyone wants to talk comics, we can drop spoilers in the comments... They've moved on to a new story that they're calling The Superior Spider-man. I've only read the first one so far, and my initial thought is that this is an awful lot like what they did with the Venom story way back when, but it's not a bad thing to revisit in a slightly different way. The other comic I read for a while was Calvin and Hobbes. Basically, now that I have kids, I appreciate its brilliance even more. Everyone should have children, just so they can experience Calvin and Hobbes in a new way. Unless you already had kids when you read it, of course.
Finally, there's been some talk amongst DPWY and myself (and others?) to read The Brothers Karamozov. I'm game. I'm working on some other projects right now, so my reading time will be lower (but we got rid of cable, so my reading time will be higher?), so I'm going to go ahead and get a running head start. DPWY indicated he was going to get some other things in first. I suspect he'll still beat me to the end of the book. But if anyone wants to join us, please do!