May 9, 2012: Art Garfunkel Reads (Among Other Things)

Another gem from Kelly the book-returner. He tipped me off to the existence of Art Garfunkel’s fascinating website. It seems that Art is a voracious reader (self-declared), a list-maker (not unlike myself) and a documentarian of his own life. On his website he lists every book he’s read since 1968, starting with Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s The Confessions and ending at present-day with Scotty Bowers’ Full Service. The last title, which Art read in March 2012, is book #1160 on the list and while that sounds like a huge number, it’s actually not that many when you consider that this is a 44-year ongoing project. To save you from whipping out your calculator, it’s an average of 26 books per year. That puts him in my ballpark and strangely, I now feel a kinship with Art because of it. However, beyond a love of reading and lists, Art and I seem to share very little common ground. A quick scan of his book list reveals only the tiniest overlap; very few of his all-time favourite books (he lists 156) would appear on my greatest hits list (Memoirs of a GeishaThe Corrections and On Chesil Beach, in case you’re wondering). In case you don’t believe me, he places the Russian at #11.

Not a one-trick pony by any stretch, Art’s website also lists his acting credits (under a heading titled “The G”) which include an episode apiece of Laverne & Shirley, Frasier and Flight of the Conchords. The site also provides quite a bit of detail about Art’s walk across America project, wherein he actually walked across America. This happened after he walked across Japan and before he walked across Europe, a project that is still ongoing. I know what you’re thinking, and again, I’m going to save you the trouble of doing the math: Simon & Garfunkel broke up in 1970. Art has clearly had [parsley, sage, rosemary and] time on his hands since then.

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