Monday, June 09, 2014

Light Reading

So yeah, I kinda gave up on reading.

Until last week’s business trip, I hadn’t read a novel or short story since Red Harvest, which I bought at a Barnes and Noble a few Christmases back only because I refused to pay $17.99 for one of their CDs, even if I was using a gift card.

The last contemporary book I read was The Art of Fielding. That book was not good. A college baseball player gets the yips, and his gay roommate has a sexual relationship with the college president, and his teammate bones the president’s daughter, and so does he. Uh, great? Good job, everybody. You’re all creeps.

So you have that feeling of “Oops, I spent a lot of time reading this thing that I ended up hating,” which leads to, “Maybe I’ll only read critically acclaimed or famous texts,” which leads to, “Screw it, I’ve only got 15 minutes to spare, I’ll just read Twitter instead.” And honestly, I have no regrets.

From The Onion, duh.

And when I don’t want to run down my phone battery, I always have this Anthology of American Literature, Volume II, 8th Edition that I took from Mlada a few years ago and still haven’t returned. I hauled this heavy thing in my carry-on, and finally cracked it on my return flight. I read a Henry James story, Daisy Miller, mostly because I think he’s mentioned as a favorite of Hugh Grant’s character in Notting Hill.

It was okay! Nineteenth century well-to-do social circles, Europeans and Americans, and so forth. And I learned that malaria was called “Roman Fever” back then, in Rome at least.

Was it better than reading Twitter, or my Feedly queue, or the articles linked within those platforms? It was certainly better than having a dead smartphone battery when I arrived back at my airport of origin. OF THAT I AM CERTAIN.


Mlada said...

Now try Turn of the Screw, same author. Baby steps and we'll have you reading again.

dn said...

I actually STARTED reading Turn of the Screw on that flight, but felt like the sentences were kinda unwieldy? Like, too old-timey or something? It wasn't flowing in my head right, so I switched to Daisy. It's a clear sign that my reading lobe has already atrophied.

Mlada said...

Turn of the Screw is somewhat deliberately old-timey; it's also a ghost story, I think the only one that James wrote. Maybe find more short stories in the anthology. I think Bierce is in there, and maybe some Stephen Crane.