The Memory Project
Off the top of my head, natural (Johnny Ketchum)

TRP: An Interim Report
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For newbies here, TRP (The Reading Project) refers to an off-shoot of TMP (The Memory Project). Inspired by the reading habits of the Nolan family in A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN, I decided to read a little Shakespeare and the Bible every day.

Two weeks into the New Year, it’s already evident that my life won’t accommodate any daily, seven-day-a-week ritual other than moisturizing. So instead of reading one page of S & B daily, I try to read Shakespeare at the rate of one scene per sitting and I prefer to get the whole act in, if time allows. As for the Bible, a chapter works better, at least in Genesis.

Unexpected discovery: There’s nothing better than reading a Shakespeare play, stopping with the penultimate scene, and then seeing it performed. Of course, it helped that the DC production of A COMEDY OF ERRORS was one of the best I’ve seen at the Shakespeare Theater there (and I’ve a season-ticket holder for almost five years now). Still, I have to think my knowledge of the text helped a lot. So now that I’m reading THE MERCHANT OF VENICE – which happens to be one of the rare Shakespeare plays that I’ve managed to never see or read – I plan to try this again, popping in the latest film version when I’m almost through.

Meanwhile, a nice bit of synchronicity this week, as I find Shylock referencing a passage in Genesis that happened to be that day’s Bible reading, the bit about Jacob and Laban and the sheep. Meanwhile, I’m kind of appalled by the Desperate Housewives subplot of this week’s portion, in which Jacob has sex with Rachel, Leah and their servants. Are mandrakes so precious that you would trade a night with your husband for some? Wisteria Lane pales. But nothing bothers me more than the Jacob and Esau story, the part about how Jacob steals Esau’s blessing.

As for my other reading: I’ve yet to begin my first Jane Smiley book, from her list of 101 titles (Jennifer Egan’s LOOK AT ME), but I did finish KINGS OF INIFINITE SPACE (highly recommended), and, forgetting about my resolve to read the Smiley books, I started ARTHUR AND GEORGE, then remembered that I needed to read DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP and “Minority Report,” because Crow references them in NO GOOD DEEDS and if he read them, I better, too. And I have a galley in the on-deck circle (hang on, Bob!) and six student manuscripts about to land, and my own galleys, which I’m reading aloud, the better to catch errors. Somewhere along the way, I squeezed in two comfort re-reads: THE JOYOUS SEASON (Patrick Dennis) and A NOVEL CALLED HERITAGE (Margaret Mitchell Dukore).

In short: No apologies, not yet, and as far as I’m concerned, I’m keeping my resolution even as it evolves.

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