While living and working in Edinburgh in 2008 I set out to write one million words in 366 days... but only managed 800,737.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Disgraceful Non Sequitur

After my problems listening to J.G. Ballard’s Millennium People, I’m now listening to J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace (I must have been in an acronym-y mood at the library). I studied Foe at university and I remember seeing Disgrace on the shelves with the other "textbooks", which I think is why it’s taken me until now to dive into one of the favourites to take the Booker of Bookers when it is announced later this year.

I haven’t finished the book yet, so I’m not going to comment on its worthiness, but I will say I found the number of qualifiers in title Disgrace already holds: The Greatest Novel Of The Last 25 Years Written In English Outside The United States*** (according to The Observer).

This is all a lead in to another entry in my Words I Did Not Quite Understand Until Today. Except this isn’t quite the case with non sequitur, because I didn’t need to look it up when I heard it as I walked to work this morning. I had to think a bit, but I got the meaning (a reply that has no relevance to what preceded it) spot on. The thing is, I’ve been through this before with non sequitur. A better heading for the list in which non sequitur belongs is: Words Whose Meanings Never Seem To Sink In But Can Be Deduced From The Context.

As with Words I Did Not Quite Understand…, I can’t come up with any more examples off the top of my head, but I know they’re out there. Words (or phrases) which are familiar to the eyes and/or ears, but not the mind. Imagine if every second word was like non sequitur or bespoke—I think you just imagined being dyslexic.

I’m not dyslexic, though based on the number of transposition errors I’ve made at work this past week, my superiors could be forgiven for wondering. Clumsy fingers, that’s the culprit in my case.

All this talk of audiobooks lately is giving a skewed impression of my reading habits. I'm not going to list everything I've read (actually read) in the year of a million words -- partly because I don't want to sound like I'm name-checking, partly because I don't want to admit I didn't read Kafka's Metamorphisis until after I bought the t-shirt in Prague... But I will say Marisa and I have both been devouring the written work of Kurt Vonnegut Jr, and there may just be an appreciation appearing on this blog in the coming weeks...

***Coincidentally, #2 on this list was Martin Amis’ Money, which I listened to before Millennium People. What did I think of it? Well, there’s a reason I never reviewed it, let’s just say that. *coughs*

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