Monday, April 9, 2012

What I'm Reading

While everyone else is busy reading The Hunger Games, I've been mucking around with other dystopian-esque texts.

Last month I slammed through all 500+ pages of Michael Korda's memorable memoir, Another Life: A Memoir of Other People, which I lugged home in hardcover from The Book Thing. It's a page-turner account of Korda's decades in the publishing industry that includes great dish (is that slang still used?) about high maintenance authors. His chapter about Jacqueline Susann is scary-funny-juicy.

What makes this romp a dystopian text? For years I've been comparing the imploding mess known as traditional trade publishing with what has (deservedly) happened to the financial services industry. Korda's memoir affirms my every suspicion by revealing how the publishing industry sowed the seeds of its self-destruction during the 1960s and by the 1980s, had created a living hell for authors and real editors.

From there, I segued into reading A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church by Rembert G. Weakland, OSB, a frank memoir that spans nearly 60 years of his involvement with the Roman Catholic Church. Weakland's writing isn't nearly as engaging as Korda's, but that almost doesn't matter. The content is jaw-dropping enough without literary embellishment.

I've only read as far as chapter 10, "Ministering in the Last Years of Pope Paul VI (Rome 1973-1977), but that's far enough along to see how quickly and insidiously the Curia scrambled to regain autocratic dominance after the Second Vatican Council adjourned. Weakland's memoir affirms my worst suspicious about the institutional church.

Does this make me an Educated Seeker or a Glutton for Punishment? Or is that a distinction without a difference?