The following is an imaginary convo between you and me but it’s like, super real.
YOU: Why the long face?
ME: I have to read all of Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus by Tuesday. For school.
YOU: That’s that one about the guy who sells his soul to the devil for fame and glory, right?
ME: Pretty much.
YOU: And he’s got the good angel on one shoulder and the devil on another, doesn’t he?
YOU: It’s not Shakespeare, is it? Isn’t Doctor Faustus a really old story?
ME: (Sighs.) There are a million versions. Thomas Mann’s was published in 1947 and it’s this classic, scary story, retold in modern times, but it’s also big, intricate allegory for Germany under fascism. It’s incredible. This book is like… It’s a brocade. A tapestry. But all that richness don’t make it fast reading. And I’m only on page 150.
YOU: Out of?
ME: Out of 534.
YOU: (Whistles.) Why are you talking to me, kid? You better this laptop and crack that book.
ME: I’m sleepy and I’m grumpy!
YOU: You’re in grad school! This is how it works! You read long books and you read ’em fast! What do you think you’re paying for?
ME: I have to write a response paper tooooooo —
YOU: Mary Katherine Fons, I am about to take this blog away from you. Go get that book. Get yourself some tea, pull Pendennis into your lap, and quit yer bellyachin’. Mann’s novel is a masterpiece and your heart, brain, and soul are being nourished and enriched with every sentence you read.
ME: Maybe I could sell my soul to Mephistopheles and just snap my f—