Peacocking???

Regarding this:  entitled Liar, Liar, Books on Fire! I left the following comment, and once again I felt it too long that it should not be included here as a regular entry.

There is a book or two that, due to my advancing years, I cannot now remember having read–or not.  Still this is an interesting topic.  As a young man of science, I could not have imagined the reason or cause for “peacocking,” if I am using the offered term correctly.(?)

And, as a young man, the nature of the books I read, filled as they were with diagrams, equations and very, very densely specialised text, such fakery would have been inconceivable.  As a much (much, much, much) older man, I do of course understand the nature of a man who might wish to be thought greater than he is.

Still I would not commit this act of bravado.  And, as it happens, I myself have a very solid reason to commit such an act.  I have a standing agreement with a colleague of mine, who has some kind of irrational aversion to the reading of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” to wit, that he will read the book in question if and when I complete Dostoevsky’s “The Brothers Karamozov.”

I have tried.  Indeed I have.  I am some few chapters in at my last attempt.  But I believe my friend will win this contest of ours if I play fair.  And I will, I am afraid, even though I believe Miss Rand’s book will, for him, answer some very important questions which he has to me voiced over the many decades.

As for the above list:

I have read Orwell’s ‘1984’ I wish I could claim to have read it During the year itself, but I cannot now remember.  Most likely, I read it a few years before that time.

My sweet wife and I have read the entire “Lord of the Rings” trilogy aloud, taking turns over many successive evenings.  These books read very well in this way, almost as though they were written with such a method in mind.

I attempted, but did not finish “Pride and Prejudice” as a very young man.  I will here state that I enjoyed, to some degree, the 1/5th that I did read, but that its language was a bit too much for my equation-addled brain to parse.  Merely having fallen in love with a “humanities girl” was not then enough to grant me the gift of comprehension of such language.  (This failure is partly what led me to study the poetry of various periods–to my scientific mind, a much more efficient way to survey the language of various eras)  I have not attempted it yet again, but I believe that, were I to do so, it would afford me no trouble at all at this late date.

And, even though it was not so very long ago, my failed attempt to read “Catcher in the Rye” induced a kind of glaze of the eyes, which condition still has not completely abated.

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