Book 2: The Crying of Lot 49

I am so glad that the Random Number gods have given me The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon.

This will be my first Pynchon novel. I’m kind of nervous.

This book has been on my list for a few years. One January Saturday a few years back, some college friends and I drove to another town to visit Barnes and Noble. I picked up Gravity’s Rainbow and started at the beginning. Oh shit, I thought after a few minutes, I can’t stop reading this.

Somehow, my friends managed to get me away from the book and out of the store without buying it. Since then, though, all of Pynchon’s work has been on my list. It might be better that The Crying of Lot 49 is my first Pynchon, though. It’s shorter. Not that book length has ever deterred me.

Pynchon has been one of those writers that I’ve kind of avoided with this sort of fearful awe. In my mind I rank him up there with David Foster Wallace (I’m in love with him, even though I’ve yet to read Infinite Jest), James Joyce, and Don DeLillo. I really, really really want to read their stuff, but I’m terrified that I won’t *GET IT*. I’m scared that they’re too smart for me.

For me, it’s the equivalent of going to a party and seeing an amazing guy that is so totally out of your league. You watch him from a distance. You admire him. You might even dream of going up and talking to him, in certain circumstances. But in the end, all you can do is cast sneaky glances in his direction and struggle to get up the nerve to go for it.

For me Thomas Pynchon is one of those guys. For some reason, I’ve put his work on this pedestal and decided that it’s WAY above me. I don’t know why I think that. I’ve thought that about a several writers, actually. And then once I read their stuff I find out that they usually aren’t as terrifying as I thought. Virginia Woolf, for example. I was TERRIFIED to read To the Lighthouse for my English seminar last semester because I thought that I wouldn’t *GET IT*. It turns out that I did *GET IT*. 

So, I’m really excited to read The Crying of Lot 49. So excited that I went on Amazon and actually bought it! Unfortunately, something was wrong with the card I usually use and I didn’t realize it until I’d missed the deadline for one day shipping. Instead of starting it today, I guess I’ll have to wait until tomorrow. I am disappointed. Thanks a lot, Amazon. 


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