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Simon Must Be Boring
January 20, 2007 1:44 PM   Subscribe

Ever wondered what Art Garfunkel does when he's not walking across one continent or another? No? Well he'd like to tell you anyway. He reads. A lot.
posted by Partial Law (40 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
The "library" also has its own forum.
posted by Partial Law at 1:45 PM on January 20, 2007


"Bournemouth over the English Channel to Cherbourg, France (August 2000)"

Someone was going to read this and make a really forced joke about "bridge over troubled water" or something, so I thought I would just ruin it for them now.
posted by matthewr at 1:50 PM on January 20, 2007


When I was born he was somewhere in the middle of Great Expectations...
posted by Asherah at 2:01 PM on January 20, 2007


I hear he likes to drive his own limo and smoke kind bud, too.
posted by fixedgear at 2:01 PM on January 20, 2007


Bright eyes, burning like fire.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 2:08 PM on January 20, 2007


Asherah writes 'When I was born he was somewhere in the middle of Great Expectations...'

When I was born, he stopped reading for two months. Coincidence, or something more sinister?
posted by jack_mo at 2:08 PM on January 20, 2007


Ya, well he didn't know how to read until after I was born. Or maybe he didn't start keeping a list until then.
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 2:17 PM on January 20, 2007


Well. He's no Forrest Gump.
posted by The Deej at 2:21 PM on January 20, 2007


I look a lot like Art Garfunkel.

It's uncanny.
posted by Afroblanco at 2:23 PM on January 20, 2007


His reading list needs more cowbell.
posted by miss lynnster at 2:23 PM on January 20, 2007


Maybe if he read a little less he'd have done more with his life.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:27 PM on January 20, 2007


What an interesting charcter he is. From his site he doesn't seem to be quite 3-dimensional, the walking route is depicted and the books listed but no expression about the experiences. His music sadly sounds more like Muzac. He has a lovely voice and I truly loved his recordings with Paul Simon. I wonder what happened to him as a person?

At first I thought his list of books was pretentious but looking at those listed, it's pretty much a sort of document of what was considered important reading down through the last few decades. Kinda cool going over that.

Othe people have done a lot of walking like he's been doing. John Hillaby comes to miind.

An aside: when I bought a halved nautilus shell years ago, the shopkeeper informed that the name of the valve running through the shell could be remembered with the mnemonic of combining both Simon's and Garfunkel's names together, a siphuncle. Naturally, I've never forgotten it.
posted by nickyskye at 2:56 PM on January 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Do you suppose he included EVERYTHING he's read?
posted by spock at 3:01 PM on January 20, 2007


Maybe if he read a little less he'd have done more with his life.

Yeah, god knows he's such a slacker. Who the hell is this guy, anyway? Too bad he wasn't in a wildly successful musical duo or anything.

And I swear I'm not just defending him because he looks like me.
posted by Afroblanco at 3:02 PM on January 20, 2007


the walking route is depicted and the books listed but no expression about the experiences

There is some expression, at least from the walks (USA, Europe); it's just a little harder to find.
posted by Partial Law at 3:17 PM on January 20, 2007


Not to mention he was in a pretty kickass movie.
posted by banished at 3:38 PM on January 20, 2007


Well, he was a heck of a smooth dancer...
posted by miss lynnster at 4:10 PM on January 20, 2007


Great post.

Interesting to check out the Wikipedia entry on him. I had absolutely no idea that he had (has?) a career as a solo artist, but I did know about the acting. He at least gamely tried to hold his own vs. Jack Nicholson in the excellent Carnal Knowledge, as banished references.

I'm still waiting for news on his plans to form a supergroup with Jim Messina, John Oates and Andrew Ridgely.
posted by psmealey at 4:10 PM on January 20, 2007


Partial Law, thanks so much for pointing out those links, I'd totally overlooked them and went on to read the interview about his Across America walk. I feel a 180 degree difference after reading that and wish I'd looked at his website more thoroughly before making my last comment. He sounds great, balanced, gentle, a good human being. Wish I liked his recent music better though but that's ok. Interesting his intense affection/admiration for James Taylor.

A photo of his son, James.
posted by nickyskye at 4:22 PM on January 20, 2007


Ooh, Ben Taylor's kinda cute.
posted by mykescipark at 4:40 PM on January 20, 2007


He should try LibraryThing. I wouldn't say he reads a lot - he reads what an average reader would if they didn't have TV - 4 or 5 books a month, which is about 1-3 hours a night. In fact I read more than he does on monthly basis. I know certain users on MeFi far exceed 1000 books and there are users on LT with 20 times that amount. Before I became "a reader" I would have been in awe of someone who read this much, but once you start putting in the hours, it is no big deal. Just takes commitment and desire. He does have excellent taste in books.
posted by stbalbach at 4:44 PM on January 20, 2007


Always an interesting fellow. For example, in 1971 after having appeared in 'Carnal Knowledge' and winning multiple Grammy Awards with Paul Simon for 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' (Best Song, Best Record, Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists, Best Album of the Year) he sought "normality" and set off to teach mathematics at at a private school in Litchfield, Connecticut.
posted by ericb at 4:51 PM on January 20, 2007


I would have to agree that he doesn't read a lot. I consistently clear 80 books a year (usually 100 or more). But it is incredibly impressive that he has kept track that long.

I've only been keeping track for 5 years... in a ratty old moleskine.

I don't watch much TV, but I read about 5 hours a day. I also spend way way too much money on books.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 5:41 PM on January 20, 2007


What strikes me about the list is the sheer randomness of it. When I get interested in a topic or an author, I tend to chase them down and devour with very little on the side. The duration can be a week, a month, or even a year, but there will be a theme.

He seems to flit, as if at any given time any book is as good as any other.

Not saying it's wrong, just seems a little - mechanistic. Tot up his titles and mine at the end of our respective lifetimes and they might well mirror each other, but on a day to day basis, not a lot of evidence of passion or quirk.

Is it just me? Or perhaps I didn't run through enough of his pages?
posted by IndigoJones at 5:51 PM on January 20, 2007


His "Everything Waits to Be Noticed" album from 2002 is really, really good.
posted by davebush at 6:14 PM on January 20, 2007


Second that, davebush. He works really well as part of a trio with Buddy Mondlock and Maia Sharp, too, both noteworthy writers/performers in their own right.
posted by weston at 6:19 PM on January 20, 2007


"Art Garfunkel" is apparently a euphemism for straight-on-straight gay sex in the north of England. Weird.
posted by snoktruix at 7:32 PM on January 20, 2007


IndigoJones, looking at LibraryThing, most people are widely read. Makes for more interesting dinner conversations.
posted by stbalbach at 9:24 PM on January 20, 2007


Bibliophilia is to be admired, but this is still a boast, kind of like keeping an album of photos of the women you have boinked.
posted by Tube at 9:29 PM on January 20, 2007


not really, after the first 500 you begin to forget you've read it till you get what you think is a new book home and then by chapter one recall you'd already read a decade ago.
posted by infini at 9:39 PM on January 20, 2007


I would have to agree that he doesn't read a lot... But it is incredibly impressive that he has kept track that long.

When I found Garfunkel's site three or four years ago, I was more impressed with all the walking than with the books. I doubt I've hiked much more than 500 miles lifetime, but I've read 3374 books in the same time it took him to read his last 820 (not that I'm a nut like him about counting them).

He does have excellent taste in books.

The thing about his list that struck me was it's almost all Einstein, Rousseau, Goethe, Flaubert, Machiavelli, Plato, de Tocqueville, and stuff like The Art of the Renaissance. Does he really never read something like, say, Naked Came the Manatee? Or if so, does he just leave it off the list?

To quote Anthony Lane: “...the ideal literary diet consists of trash and classics: all that has survived, and all that has no reason to survive — books you can read without thinking, and books you have to read if you want to think at all.”

Bibliophilia is to be admired, but this is still a boast...

I agree with infini — it's not a boast, it's a survival tactic. Especially after 10, 20 years you come across a book that used to be one of your favorites and you can't even remember ever seeing it before. For the same reason, I've also got a list of 990 books that I'd like to read some day. (I've read 221 so far; if #1 had never invented MetaFilter, I'm sure I'd get a lot more reading done.)

p.s. Speaking of interesting reading lists posted online, Jessamyn's also got one. I don't do that, I just list a few favorites every year.
posted by LeLiLo at 4:31 AM on January 21, 2007


Art who?
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:45 AM on January 21, 2007


Several days back, in a thread now deleted (it was a double), I posted a comment concerning Art Garfunkel. The thread had nothing to do with ol' Art, but rather with a YouTube video of some sort or other. Problem was, YouTube was down at the time the FPP was up. The YouTube "scheduled downtime" page appeared, which reminded me of a little story concerning "downtime", which I posted as a comment because, what the hell, the thread was going nowhere fast anyway. Well, since the comment was favorited by a few people (before the double FPP was whisked into oblivion), and now that there's this actual Garfunkel thread going, heck, I'm gonna tell the story again:

A friend of mine was working in a recording studio years back, and was an assistant at an Art Garfunkel recording session. He tells me Garfunkel was in the control room listening to playback of a vocal take that he had just done, when in walked a studio employee who had to get a tape machine out of the room. He walked in and rolled it out, and all the while Garfunkel stared at him dumbfoundedly in open-mouthed amazement, following him with his eyes as he (as discreetly as possible, I'm told) entered and wheeled the machine out of the room. The nerve of doing that while Art was in the room, listening to a playback! Anyway, Garfunkel stood up and yelled: "Psychological downtime! Psychological downtime!", and stormed out of the room. Sensitive artiste that he was, Mr. G was off-the-clock for the duration of the psychological distress that this incident apparently caused him.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:20 AM on January 21, 2007


I'm gonna start reading all those books as soon as I get finished reading the Internet.
posted by JanetLand at 6:56 AM on January 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Flapjax: I was going to insert "psychological downtime!" into this thread but was worried it was too obscure still.

Jessamyn reading Jessamyn:

I know just enough about Jessamyn West to know that some of this novel mirrors some of her real life, but nowhere near enough to know where the line is. I do know that West moved from the plains to California, that she wrote a book that was turned into a movie and that she got to meet the movie star and spend some time with him. In this book, some similar stuff happens. The main character is a quirky loner writer with a preacher brother who gets into some trouble. She dates the movie star but then loses him in a very awkward situation. She writes sixteen books and becomes well known and famous. In the book her brother has TB and eventually dies from it. In real life West had TB and lived another 60 years.

In any case, West’s clear direct writing style, her interesting and multi-faceted female characters and her astute observations on the nature of human behavior make this book a great read, even decades after it was written. Many quotations attributed to West come from this book and it was surpising to be so familiar with the aphorisms it held while being totally unaware of the entire plot and characters.

posted by craniac at 8:25 AM on January 21, 2007


The thing about his list that struck me was it's almost all Einstein, Rousseau, Goethe, Flaubert, Machiavelli, Plato, de Tocqueville, and stuff like The Art of the Renaissance.

The only pop culture books I saw in the list were Primary Colors in March 1996 and The Da Vinci Code in November 2004, which I guess means he only leaves the classics (or biographies, he seems to love biographies) if there's something "everybody's reading."
posted by Partial Law at 8:44 AM on January 21, 2007


IndigoJones, looking at LibraryThing, most people are widely read

Well, most people who put their libraries on Librarything have a lot of books. Doesn't mean they've read them.

I stand by my point, however. Even in librarything you can find clear lines of interest and passion, and again, I'd have thought it common practice to read a lot on one area at a go rather than just take whatever happens to fall in your lap. It's the more striking in this case as we have his diary, not just his titles.

Also- any evidence of re-reading a given book? (Not worth my time to check, but has anyone noticed?)

Partial Law- I did notice at least one Stephen King.
posted by IndigoJones at 11:46 AM on January 21, 2007


Maybe that's just what he likes to read? Lots of people like reading the classics. I was at a bookstore last night and I saw a poster on which Basketball players were promoting the classics they like to read.
posted by wobh at 12:20 PM on January 21, 2007


If life was more like a cheesy sci-fi serial, Afroblanco would be compelled to track down and murder Art Garfunkel. It's that uncanny.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:31 PM on January 21, 2007


That made me laugh out loud, wobh, to find out that Dwyane Wade's favorite classic is Pride and Prejudice. It's like a headline in The Onion... but good for him, if he really has read it a couple of times.

At least he's not reading Shaq and the Beanstalk. [PSA here, at the bottom of the page.]
posted by LeLiLo at 9:53 PM on January 21, 2007


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