I signed up for the #Spartan30 for April 2014. This month it is 30 pushups each day. Honestly, this is not a challenge. In many kung fu classes many more push ups, in a variety of styles, is accomplished. So why did I sign up for this? I don’t have a great answer, other than maybe to encourage my household. And you. You sign up too.
I have another Amazon.com order somewhere in the delivery system. Who even has it – UPS? USPS? FedEx? Who knows; the companies bounce deliveries back and forth all the time nowadays. Do you want to read the list?
- Now Wait For Last Year – PKD
- The Cat Who Came for Breakfast – Lilian Jackson Braun
- Brass Man – Neal Asher
- Lockdown – Alexander Gordon Smith
- The Eternal Prison – Jeff Somers
- The Terminal State – Jeff Somers
- Fatal Error – F. Paul Wilson
- Degrees of Freedom – Simon Morden
- The Burglar on the Prowl – Lawrence Block
- Killing Ground – “Don Pendleton”
- Water Sleeps – Glen Cook
In other news: Kafka. In 2012, I re-read The Trial. Because I read those sorts of books. Anyway, I said I would get through the rest of Kafka (again). I have read these works already, but I thought, maybe, with aging they might get better? I only gave The Trial two stars. I harp on that a lot. Finally, I dredged out The Castle and started re-reading it. I do not have a lot of motivation for this and it is slow going. However, I actually also dragged out a composition notebook to take a couple notes, too. Because I want to end this Kafka thing. I don’t know; this is all so tedious. But I am relentless.
The thing is, like that article from The Atlantic that I talked about awhile ago, I do think Kafka is overrated and people who find “depth” and “awesome” in his works are really just not thinking clearly. I guess. But I am not one to just flippantly say whatever and walk away. I thought Kafka was overrated years ago when I read these works the first time. Here I am reading them again to double-check that assessment. I do not think I was wrong.
Chapter One: Arrival
pg. 6 – “You don’t know the Castle,” the landlord said softly.
pg. 9 – “There is no difference between the peasants and the Castle,” said the Teacher.
Main character K. is trying to “access” the Castle. He is told by many characters that he is ignorant. He is frustrated because he is thwarted in his attempts to access the Castle. And here is where literary people babble about the “meaning/symbolism” of the Castle. And how this can represent the mysterious regime of dystopia, etc. They must be reading a different book? Those two quotes tell me this: K. has already attained the “Castle.” It is not a building, but rather the entire locale. The peasants are, themselves, a castle…the Castle. Solved. Done. He has already attained it, so continually trying to attain it is absurd. And shows his ignorance.
Chapter One: Arrival
pg. 5 – K. listened intently. So the Castle had appointed him land surveyor. On one hand, this was unfavorable, for it showed that the Castle had all necessary information about him, had assessed the opposing forces, and was taking up the struggle with a smile. On the other hand, it was favorable, for it proved to his mind that they underestimated him and that he would enjoy greater freedom than he could have hoped for at the beginning. And if they thought they could keep him terrified all the time simply by acknowledging his surveyorship – though this was certainly a superior move on their part – then they were mistaken, for he felt only a slight shudder, that was all.
This could be one of the most important paragraphs in the book – and I feel like almost all readers miss it? Or mis-read it?
I read it and understand this: K. is not a land-surveyor. The “Castle” has “called his bluff.” K. arrives in the village and calls himself a land surveyor that is working for the Castle. He isn’t; this is a lie/bluff. The Castle craftily decides to call this bluff by totally agreeing with K. “Sure, you’re the land surveyor, then.” Okay. And K. believes in doing this that the Castle is actually underestimating him, though he appreciates this crafty move on their part.
But when I read other people’s comments on this book – they seem to think that K. is actually a land surveyor from parts distant who has come to the village as such and was actually hired by the Castle from parts distant. I could be completely incorrect – but I really do not think that I am. Still, I hate existentialism, so maybe I am too thick-skulled to understand this Kafka-esque stuff.
I would gladly discuss this – please, educate me. But only one friend of mine has read this novel. And they lost their copy and live in a different hemisphere. So I have no one to discuss this with.