Right now I’m reading Otherwise Known as the Human Condition for a review, and it reminds me of just what a good, versatile critic Geoff Dyer is.
So, since I’m in a Dyer mood right now, two recent Dyer links.
First, an excerpt from Otherwise, Dyer on a typically Dyeresque topic, reader’s block.
I find it increasingly difficult to read. This year I read fewer books than last year; last year I read fewer than the year before; the year before I read fewer than the year before that. The phenomenon of writer’s block is well known, but what I am suffering from is reader’s block. The condition is creeping rather than chronic, manifesting itself in different ways in different circumstances. On a trip to the Bahamas recently I regularly stopped myself reading because, whereas I could read a book anywhere, this was the only time I was likely to see sea so turquoise, sand so pink. Somewhat grandly, I call this the Mir syndrome, after the cosmonaut who said that he didn’t read a page of the book he’d taken to the space station because his spare moments were better spent gazing out of the window. . . .
And here’s Dyer on his “hero” Friedrich Nietzsche.
I keep waiting for my love of his writing to wear off, but it never does. Actually, love is not the right word – you can go on loving writers long after you’ve stopped reading them. I keep reading Nietzsche and I never cease to be astonished by his insight, his freshness, his brevity (deep problems treated like cold baths: in and out as quickly as possible), his profound plumbing of consciousness, even his “howlers” (as Cioran termed them). I suppose he’s a philosopher, but that seems a poor description . . .