You hear it all the time: some people even consider not-reading to be a positive characteristic. Of course there are levels and varieties of not-reading: some business types would not be caught reading fiction (although I knew a powerful corporate officer that rejected all fiction … except the romantic bodice rippers he read secretly at night in bed; some social climbers only read (or professed to having read) the most mainstream best-sellers; some readers are overly restrictive, concentrating on a specific genre such as fantasy or science fiction; and there are those who refuse to read anything older than ten years.
Last night I dreamed I went to the library and the shelves were all empty. I asked the librarian and she told me I had read all the books, thus fulfilling my quest. A dark shadow passed over the skylight, heading for Lonely Mountain.
Lately I have more than once considered simplifying my life by eliminating all or parts of this web site. Those of you who have been around a long time may remember some site features that disappeared or merged with other features. One persistent urge I have is to eliminate the daily reading suggestion. After all, anything that has to be done daily tends to become a chore.
Despite being out of service for several days this last month, I had gotten ahead of my list of suggested reading so if you don’t remember my suggestion for any day, I was probably laying in the hospital enjoying the regular rhythm of the plastic blood-pressure cup strangling my arm and the monitors regularly beeping to keep me well rested.
Making a suggestion for reading every day is changing from a fun task into a frightening job. I want to read so many books and I’m gradually slowing down more and more. But what’s even scarier, I’m finding myself staring at the latest episode of Mr. Robot with no desire or apparent ability to raise my arms or alter my focus.
Back in the days of my more youthful reading, especially those highly esteemed and musty old tomes, I would treat my lack of enthusiasm by reading a few titles of popular fiction such as mystery novels or even some hopefully quality science fiction. The key is to limit the number of books of this sort because poplar fiction generates tedium and dulls the brain much faster than more classical reading. But like sugary desserts, the first few bites are exquisite even though in short order the whole thing caramelizes your tongue and makes your teeth hurt.