Looking back at January: a new year of reading and oft overlooked reading suggestions. I actually read a few of the works on this list while they were still in the news. I notice that a couple of the titles were of that genre often considered non-fiction (wink wink) and it’s good that I have read them before they turned dated and uninteresting.
Although I enjoyed these very contemporary views on the current corruption in both government and in the oil fields, I must admit that for the most part they at best provided me with a clear depiction of things I already knew, albeit in one compact volume with a lot of extra detail.
In this, the early days of the Corona Virus, a narrative of the spread from China of a fictional but deadly illness,—Shen Fever—might be just a tad too relevant.
“In its initial stages, Shen Fever is difficult to detect. Early symptoms include memory lapse, headaches, disorientation, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Because these symptoms are often mistaken for the common cold, patients are often unaware they have contracted Shen Fever. They may appear functional and are still able to execute rote, everyday tasks. However, these initial symptoms will worsen.
Later-stage symptoms include signs of malnourishment, lapse of hygiene, bruising on the skin, and impaired motor coordination. Patients’ physical movements may appear more effortful and clumsy. Eventually, Shen Fever results in a fatal loss of consciousness. ”
One sure sign that a reader has reached old age is that he or she loses interest in new fiction. Seen it all. Been there, done that. It’s then that people nearly always do return to the books they loved when young, hoping for a breath of springtime as the autumn winds blow. And if they aren’t rereading “Treasure Island” or “The Secret Garden”? Then it’s likely to be the Bible, Plato’s dialogues or Montaigne’s essays because these inexhaustible classics address nothing less than the meaning of life, which really means, of course, the meaning of our own lives.
This is the concluding paragraph of Michael Dirda’s review of Vivian Gornick’s book: Unfinished Business: Notes of a Chronic Re-reader in the Washington Post. The full article is interesting and I’m sure the referenced book warrants reading (or re-reading).
Do you agree?