Not too far up the Magic Mountain

“And what is the cause of enervation and apathy that arise when the rules of life are not abrogated from time to time?” – The Magic Mountain, Thomas Mann

Enervation and apathy seems to describe my constant state to be honest…

So far this book has had perhaps just three days pass in roughly 100 pages, and perhaps I’ve been with it for a week or so. It’s perhaps as if I feel someone is pedantically plodding through and dusting off the the bookshelves in my brain. There is nothing particularly exciting or noteworthy, it seems an exacting representation of life. Everything I don’t look for in a book is here, (lengthy descriptions of meal time, etc) and gentle revelations and contemplations of things that I may not particularly make much headway on when I approach on my own. For example, “Why do I always seem to move as soon as I’ve settled into a place? Why do I try to settle in if the intention is to move on in just a short while?”

The main character entirely identifiable: not quite average, not particularly brilliant or interesting either. Mostly drunk and somewhat out of place.

I believe that there are 600 more pages to witness. I feel like overall there is a lot locked in here, but I might ground myself down if I spend all my free time on it, when already my day is fairly routinized and uneventful. Work, home, take a rest due to heat, walk around town, go to sleep. All this added to the fact that my town’s big festival is coming along. Everyday from 7-10PM the children beat a driving taiko rythm, and Japanese flutes ring through the air. When I walk I can go from community center to community center and see my students practicing! It’s the most lively I’ve seen my town to be honest, but it all lends to this odd grinding feeling.

“Into the Heart of Darkness,” made me paranoid. “Venus in Furs,” had all the gentlemen in within my vicinity wincing. I think “The Magic Mountain,” is something of a private revolution that one might not talk of too often.

I might put it aside for a good adventure book, something to drag me out of the sleepy haze of my current existence.  Something that stimulates my active imagination rather than fluttering around the quasi-philosophical..though I have to admit, the pastime of reading this book is doing marvels for my vocabulary, and I have this deep feeling that my sophomore year high school teacher would have assigned this book to me if he thought he could get me to sit through the whole thing. And that is actually the reason he had given me “Death in Venice,” for one of my last assignments…a gateway. I can honestly say that his class is one of the few I’ve been able to, for one remember, and two, go back to the old texts of and say, “Wow, I’m glad someone guided me through this material once.”


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