My background as a writer and editor, having been both a journalism major as well as an English major and now entering a Library and Information Science graduate program this fall, belies the truth: I don’t read books very much. This truth brings instant shame during conversations at Writers’ Workshop parties or even at a beloved townie bar self-labeled as “Institution of Higher Learning.” When you’re at someone’s party and they have their summer reading list of 100 books–including “Ulysses (again)” among other tomes– hanging on their fridge and you think of the lolwerdz on your own, you kinda feel out of place.
The last book I read cover-to-cover was probably Mary Roach’s Bonk, and I thought, she is exactly the kind of fantastic writer I wanted to be! I have to read more! A year later, Stiff continues to go unread. My excuses–that I have emails from writers to get out or editing to do–aren’t good enough. I enjoy reading so why is it do hard to sit down and actually do it? Do I need an arm chair or a bed with a headboard to keep me upright long enough to keep my eyes open? Do I need to have my cat sit on my iPhone so I’m not tempted to check the weather to see if those clouds mean rain mean my strawberry plants will get watered naturally?
These issues might require troubleshooting as I sit down tonight to crack open Nell Irvin Painter’s The History of White People. I will go home tonight, work out, cook dinner and eat it, clean up the mess from cooking, then clear away distractions–as my school teachers would say–and sit down to read, of all things, a book.