and they say dry-erase ink is non-toxic

Dear Simona,

Today I had my last academic obligation of the quarter. The remaining members of Kai’s 1959 seminar read their papers (I got mine out of the way on Tuesday, and I did it in the form of a technicolor hypertext website and I read all the sections out of order, modeling my own work after the Philosophische Untersuchungen because I am a loser). I turned my grades in yesterday, and so now I am officially on winter break. I celebrated this by going to Office Depot and buying a huge dry-erase board to put over my desk, onto which I just transcribed my entire PhD reading list, color-coded by time period. I also made every entry on the reading list its own 4X6 note card, also color-coded by time period (one side just has the title of the work, the other side will have the author, plot, major characters, canonical significance, historical context and at least one money quote). As it stands now I have read 59 items on a list of 102. Things are grim. Grim grim grim. As opposed to "Grimm," which thank God is on the list of things I’ve read. (The list does not count Kafka’s entire canon and all of the German philosophy and critical theory–that would add about 70 books to the list, so I guess the real count is 129/172, but any way you look at it that is 50 books and less than six months to read ’em in in addition to all my other coursework). Anyway, Simona, since you passed your exams last year I was hoping you could offer me some advice on how to read all of this by magic. And obviously one of the books is Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften and that counts as seventeen books (though I haven’t counted it as such and I’ve only read to page 400). Anyway, I told you I would start addressing this blog to you since you and my dad are the only people who read it, and I did. Hooray. I would drink some cheap champagne with you to celebrate but I am off the sauce for the forseeable future.

Hooray Simona!

your friend,


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