Saturday, January 01, 2011

The joy of nothingness

I have not gone to the gym all week. I haven't done any work at all. I've slept in until 10 am several times, which is very, very odd. I didn't think I was capable of that kind of sleep anymore.

What have I done? I've read a lot. When I go to Argo, I take books instead of the laptop. And I sit on my couch for several hours at a time reading. It's wonderful.

I'm reading some pretty good stuff right now, and I think one resolution, if I make any, is to not waste my time on books that don't completely grip me. Like that damned book on salt. Even the book on waves got pretty tedious.

Books should be so good that you can't wait to get into bed to read them. You might even turn off the Colbert Report early. You might read them at breakfast instead of the news. You might actually put the laptop aside for an hour or two.

It's funny to hear peoples' prejudices about books. I've heard lots of people turn up their nose and proudly say they never read fiction. Which is insane. So they've never read or think there's any value in Hemingway or Shakespeare or Wolfe or Kingsolver?

On the flipside, my mother says she refuses to read nonfiction, which I think is equally bizarre. I quickly challenged her -- what about Katherine Graham's memoir? Biography is different, apparently. Regardless, she feels nonfiction authors just don't write as well.

I don't believe that either. I think that's an even tougher skill -- to find a compelling story within the parameters of truth and fact. Lots of people do this really well -- Krakauer, Junger, Ambrose, Gladwell, Bryson. And many of them can handle the language just as masterfully as the best novelists.

Obviously, the key is to read what grips you, without prejudice.

Anyway, the point is, I've been reveling in my own crapulence, and loving it.

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