Loner: A Novel

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I finished reading a novel! Although I started the year on quite a reading high, that quickly slumped into the usual “chuck it on the Maybe/DNF pile”. Lately, I’ve been a bit busy with all my course reading, which includes a fair amount of philosophy – Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, Kant, Bentham and Marx – and the theories of Freire, Boal and hooks. I’m really tired of all the gendered language and the patriarchal bullshit, that’s for sure, and I really don’t like the word pedagogy, which I have to use rather a lot these days. *sigh*

Anyway, I read Loner: A Novel by Teddy Wayne, in two sittings. This is most unusual for me these days, but there was something about the book that I liked a lot. It’s a campus novel (I do like campus novels!), but it has an interesting twist or two. I thought it was just very well done, with accurate sociological and psychological renderings of the characters. It’s not often that I actually like contemporary fiction, so I was surprised that I enjoyed Loner so much, but then I am probably always going to like reading about misfits, because I see myself reflected in their social awkwardness and distance from other people.

I didn’t set out to read Loner. I was at the library collecting a couple of inter-library loans I requested months ago, and I saw Wayne’s book on display. The title attracted me (of course!) and I picked it up and had a flick through the pages. The writing seemed good, and I had a couple of chuckles at a few of the send-up passages, so I decided to borrow it. Instead of wading through some more Bentham, I started to read Loner for a few minutes, and an hour later I looked up again.

I haven’t fallen like that into a book for such a long time. I went to bed early and stayed awake reading and reading until I’d finished it, and I’m still thinking about what I read. I wish I could find another book that would have the same effect, or that I could read that way all the time. I used to read with my full attention, but then I started to have difficulties with concentration, and generally failing to connect with fiction. I do wish the dreadful ennui I feel when reading most novels would go away.

Anyway, now I’m reading Marx, and thinking about the Theatre of the Oppressed, and planning three essays at once. I’m supposed to contribute at least twice a week to the discussion boards for each unit I’m taking, and that’s proving really difficult. I don’t like this collegiate collaboration style of course delivery, which they call dialogic learning. I think it just makes it easier for the academics to find time to do all their required paperwork, while the students “teach” each other. I don’t like the way that some students can just coast along on the thoughts and ideas of others, and not have to think for themselves. I don’t want to feed them my thoughts and ideas; I guess I just don’t want to share my stuff. *sigh* We’ve got a group project thing starting next week, but I haven’t found anyone I want to work with. There are only three of us signed up for this one particular topic, so I guess we’ll have to do it together. I might have to try to channel Mr V and be the “grey person”, the invisible one who hovers in the background and does what is necessary, but doesn’t reveal themself** or get involved any more than is absolutely necessary.

I guess I had better get on with some more reading. I hope things are going well with everyone. Do check out Loner if you like a well-written campus novel. 🙂

** I have to get used to using gender neutral language. In my class, there was a whole thing during the first seminar where people announced “their pronouns”. *sigh* I’ve started using they and theirs instead of he/she and his/hers just to be on the safe side. It’s so grammatically borked, but that’s the way of the world these days. I’m a bit sick of all this identity politics stuff, to be honest, and the last person who referred to me as being “cis” got an earful about how hypocritical it is that while they expect me to respect their gender identity, they think it’s ok to make assumptions about mine. Oh, yes. I’m feeling a big F*** Off factor about some things these days.

Excellent Reads:

Meghan Murphy on the need for feminism to get get radical again.

Becca Reilly-Cooper on the word TERF .

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1 Response
  • Brian Joseph
    March 14, 2017

    It is good to get back into the swing of reading when one has been in a rut. Lately I have been into books with realistic characters whose psychology I believe.

    Though I am fine with identity politics in theory, the gender pronoun thing has gotten silly.

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