This is just a quick observation and a recommendation for readers and students everywhere.
First, the Motion Picture Academy Awards: are you going to watch? Well, I turn the television on in the other room as white noise while I sit in my office (or out on the veranda if the weather is friendly) and read or write. I haven’t seen the Oscars since Walt Disney accepted an award on stage at the Pantages. To be honest, though, I have seen snippets, now often on the internet but, like the Superbowl, there are so many more interesting things to do.
One fact of many awards shows that really irks me is the inane perp-walk down the red carpet showing off some designer dress in the Hollywood version of NASCAR shoulder patches. Most of the glitz is just borrowed, anyway, and like all obscenely expensive clothing, they are only meant to be seen once and then dispatched to couturier heaven.
But there is one interesting tie-in between the world of literature and the world of the celebrity red carpet: Michelle Williams. Now I have another confession to make: I like Michelle Williams, both as an actor and as a woman. But have you noticed how she is accessorizing her Hollywood glamor outfits?
Notice her clutch purse (not her legs): interesting? At an earlier event she carried another specially made clutch that displayed an homage to Arthur Miller’s The Misfits (and a subtle nod to Marilyn). I know these specially made clutches are from a very expensive designer of accessories for those that can afford them, but it is still a fun way to promote reading (and movies).
It also reminds me of the last fifty years where I never went anywhere without a book in my pocket. I read everywhere I went and considered even a short time staring at a poster on the subway lost reading time. I remember once in college I got in a very long line to register (or something) and discovered I had failed to put any books in my book-bag. Later I would come to know the agony of the courtroom during a divorce proceeding, the worry of waiting for a arrival of a first-born child, the horror of discovering the cigarette carton was empty during a blizzard, the panic of being wheeled around hospital corridors on my back wondering if I would make it through the night. Not having something to read for a couple of hours as the line slowly moved forward was a personal Hell that I vowed never to revisit.
So I always have something to read. Even at the Metropolitan Opera House I had several books on my early Palm Pilot for emergencies. Today I still carry around a book and have one or two spares in the car … just in case. And in this new electronic age I also have my iPad slipped into my man-bag and offering me another five or six hundred titles to read … just in case.
Ever since my daughter started reading I have done two things: first, I never miss asking her what she is reading, and second, I remind her to take a book when we go out. Add to that the books under the Christmas tree and she was moving in the right direction (I also taught her to sing Chantilly Lace but that might not be as important as reading). Now the Kid is a professor at a major university passing on her experiences with books and film to a new generation of young(er) people.
So, even though the statistics on reading adults is disheartening, I still insist that the best way to pass idle moments and possibly to enrich yourself at the same time, is to read a book. So never go anywhere without a book!