Something To Do:
Anybody catch Tim Parks’ NYRB blog post last week Where I’m Reading From? In the essay he wonders about why people aren’t more interested in the anthropology of reading, who reads what and why. He thinks it would be good for there to be a public website or database or something where those who write about books professionally provide a brief account of “how we came to hold the views we do on books, or at least how we think we came to hold them” in order to throw some light on disagreements about books. Parks then goes on to write his personal contribution.
All this reminds me of W. H. Auden who created a long list of questions he thought critics should answer so that we readers would have some insight into how said critic might have come to have such an opinion. Auden’s questions aren’t all about books, which is good because our opinions about what we read are tied up with how we see, act and understand the world in other ways too. In fact, Auden wanted critics to write about what they thought Eden would be. I answered the questions in case you are curious. Parks is also aware that our judgments about books are built of many things, and while his piece focuses on how he came to read what he does, he looks at how his parents influence his reading choices, what kind of environment they created for him to grow up in, how they nurtured him or not. He even pulls his brother and sister into the mix.
Toward the end of the essay Parks provides a few examples of books he read and how his formative years influenced his response to, and opinion of, them. The point to all of it being, he finally decides, not just information for the reader to be able to judge his opinion, but also for himself. If you are aware of your habits you are better able to recognize your own bias and, if not correct it, at least own up to it.
Of course the Parks essay has gotten me thinking about why I read what I do. Why do I not really care for crime novels or mysteries but science fiction and fantasy are pretty darn awesome? Why do I tend to stay away from straight-up commercial fiction preferring literary fiction instead? Why do I get excited by books that challenge me in some way? And poetry, how the heck did I come to enjoy reading that so much? And what about the large chunk of my reading that is dedicated to nonfiction? What’s that all about? I don’t know how to answer those questions. I have suspicions of course. I’ll have to think about it a bit more and if I come up with anything satisfactory, I’ll share.
What about you? Do you know why you read what you read?
By Julie Daines
I've been thinking recently about all the books I love. I re-read book a lot. A LOT. And there's something different I get out of each re-read. Some books never get old to me.
But at the same time, there are certain books I wish I could go back in time an re-read for the first time. If that makes sense.
Wouldn't it be wonderful to get sucked in to the world of Harry Potter all over again.
And what I wouldn't give to be able to experience The Road again for the first time.
To discover Jane Austen or Charlotte Brontë for the first time.
If you could go back in time, what books would you want to read again for the first time?
My two oldest are in the show, Bye-Bye Birdie and a rather uncomfortable situation presented itself on opening night. I took my dancer daughter and sat in the patron’s section, making sure to look down upon the common folk in general admission. I don’t get to be a snob in my town very often as most of the houses around here are twice the size of mine. But with two in the high school drama program, the dues required made it about the same as paying to be a patron, so we joined the club and now enjoy reserved seating.
Last night I learned it is not advisable to eat risky foods prior to a two hour show. I love spicy foods and had been able to savor two distinct ethnic cuisines on this particular day. I don’t know exactly which one was the aggressor, but one of them crossed the line, instigating a border war deep inside. It started midway through act 1 and I did everything possible to keep the war contained to one front. At some point during the second act, one of the combatants wanted more territory like Hitler invading Russia and tried to open an eastern theater. I shifted in my chair so many times the poor guy behind me probably thought I was dancing with the actors, even when there was no music. Somehow, I managed to keep the entire battle to myself.
After the final bows, Dancer and I congratulated her sisters and friends on a wonderful show, took pictures, and left. I explained the raging war of the past two hours to my thirteen year-old, who rolled her eyes and said, “Dad, you need to go to Cotillion.”
I have only approximate knowledge of Cotillion. I looked it up and found out that it is classes designed to educate children on social skills, proper etiquette, manners and dance. As an adult, I am all for manners, especially for the boys who someday might want to date my daughters. The boy inside of me can think of nothing I would hate worse, though. I wonder what happens if you have to pass gas there. Do they have Cotillion police to escort you out immediately?
On a note related to boyhood, I got a fantastic review from a children’s lit blogger this week. Since I had sent the book in December, it came by surprise, precisely at a time when my spirits needed it. LINK. In her review, she ponders this question:
This book captures the essence of boyhood very well. I had to laugh numerous times at how well the author knows what it means to be a young boy. He either has a very good memory, or he never grew up, I’m not sure which one.
I would like to thank Mrs. McMahon for taking the time to read Virge and write such a glowing review. I can put her question to rest in two ways. First, my memory is terrible except for completely irrelevant movie and song trivia. Second, take a look at the title of this post.
Welcome to our first Bestselling Women’s Fiction Book Club. We’re very excited to get the ball rolling with Susann’s Valley of the Doll.
For the discussion on Twitter we’ll be using the hashtag
#VofD #BWFBC. You can also leave a comment below. We love it when you leave comments.
If you haven’t read the book yet be warned there are many spoilers below.
Enough housekeeping here’s what we thought:
Kate Elliott (KE): So to begin, I have some initial impressions.
The pacing is just as fast as today. There is no messing around. Susann gets straight to the point.To that end it is very heavy on dialogue scenes.
I’m struck by the fascinating and obviously deliberate contrast between the absolute and immediate acceptance and attention Anne gets from men because of her stunning looks, and the interior life and intentions revealed by her pov. Her competence is assumed by the narrative because it is from her point of view, and I have to assume that the men who all admire and trust and respect her do so in large part because she has proven her level-headedness and competence.
I flinch at the casual use of the word fag, but I also note that no one so far in the text thinks twice about the presence of homosexual men in the entertainment industry. They’re there. Everyone knows it. In an odd way it is simply not a big deal (not yet, anyway).
JL: LOVE ANNE. Loving this book. Have so much to do but just want to read it. You are so right about the fast pace. Zooooom!
You’re right the homophobia is ridiculous. Tempted to keep a “fag” count. Barely a page goes by without it. Though as you say at least they’re not invisible. Why there are even lesbians in this book. Queen Victoria would faint.
I did find it very comfortable being in Anne’s pov for so long. The switch to Neely and Jennifer’s povs was quite a wrench. They’re much more uncomfortable places to be. Though once Anne was hopelessly in love with Lyon Burke, the biggest arsehole in the book, she became pretty uncomfortable too.
God, the men are awful. ALL OF THEM.
I’m a bit weirded out by the lack of scene breaks. I’m wondering if that’s an idiosyncracy of the book or something that wasn’t done as much back then or peculiar to the publisher or what? I don’t remember the last time I read a book where scenes changed with nothing more than a paragraph break. Odd.
KE: Yes. I keep waiting for a chapter or scene break and there is NOTHING. I have no idea why.
I sometimes think these “women’s novels” are about the deepest social commentary of all.
Because the men are all awful (so far). AWFUL. But I don’t find them “unrealistic.”
JL: No, they’re completely believable. Alas. Everything is so well observed. Painfully well observed. I feel like all the women are suffering from Stockholm syndrome except for Anne.
I finished. The subtitle of this book should be Patriarchy Destroys Everyone.
KE: I’m also finished. It’s compulsively readable.
There were several points in the narrative where I started getting worn out with the endless pointlessness of it all and just wanted there to be sword fighting and dragons.
JL: Poor Anne. Don’t think dragons or swords would’ve helped. So glad I wasn’t born until after this book takes place.
It’s very interesting to me how very sympathetic Anne is. I suspect that the fact that she doesn’t just get by on her looks for a big chunk of the novel is a big part of that. As opposed to Jennifer.
All three women’s lives do, however, wind up being almost entirely governed by how they look. Anne becomes a model. Jennifer models and acts. Neely becomes a singing movie star ordered to lose weight by the studio. It does not work out well for any of them.
Fascinating, isn’t it that Neely’s happiest moments after she’s famous are when she’s out of rehab and has gained a lot of weight and everyone’s freaked out by it. But the minute she loses the weight again she’s back to being a monster.
Then there’s Jennifer’s face lift because at the ancient age of 37 or whatever it is she cannot possibly face Hollywood’s glare without one. One of a million depressing moments.
It’s really shocking to me how truly awful the men are. I kept wondering if they were meant to be awful or if were supposed to like some of them. There really is not a single good guy. And they’re all so desperately unhappy. Who in this book is happy for more than a nanosecond?
I love that the women are miserable no matter what choice they make. Get married, be supportive spouse, (Jennifer in Hollywood) = utter misery. Pursue career = utter misery. Pursue career with supportive husband = utter misery. Marry the guy of your dreams = utter misery. Whatever you choose = utter misery.
Where are the happy role models? Where are the happy relationships? The book basically says that in a misogynistic, homphobic, patriarchal world everyone is miserable.
The unhappy endings. Pulling this out of my arse but the books I read now that are labelled “women’s fiction” tend to have happy endings in a way these earlier books don’t. My sample size for this pronouncement is ludicriously small. And I’m probably wrong.
KE: No one in this book has an intact family of any kind or any sort of healthy familial relationships. As far as I can tell there are two healthy relationships shown in the book:
1) Anne’s friendship with Jennifer, and 2) Anne’s friendship with Henry Bellamy (which has issues but seems to be based on mutual respect).
I would add there is a suggestion that Neely’s second husband Ted apparently goes on to have a happy marriage to the girl he was sexing in the pool although that can’t be confirmed.
Not a single person has an intact relationship with parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts & uncles, long-time friends, etc. They are all startlingly isolated and, to that degree, vulnerable.
JL: Right. They really are adrift. This is the world that the breakdown of the extended family and the rise of the broken nuclear family has led to. AND IT IS SO WRONG!
1) I’m not sure how healthy it is Anne and Jennifer’s friendship is. So much they don’t tell each other. But, yes, within the context of the book it’s not too bad. 2) And as for her relationship with Bellamy: but he lies to her! But, again, yes, compared to all the other relationships it’s not too bad. Henry Bellamy would be my nomination for most decent guy in the book and what a low bar that is.
Of all the awful men Anne’s husband, Lyon Burke, was the very worst. He’s who I’d stab.
I actually felt bad for Tony the mentally impaired singer. I liked his sister Miriam. Loved that he showed up at the sanitorium to sing with Neely. I’m a sook. That was one of my favourite bits.
Oh, also DRUGS ARE BAD. In fact, I’m never so much as looking at a drug ever again. Not even aspirin.
The ending left me really bummed. Poor Anne. May she discover feminism, quit the drugs, and leave the bastard soon.
I loved that it’s a book about work. As so many of these women’s fiction titles are. (Again small sample size. But it feels true.)
KE: I have a few other comments.
We both noticed the utter lack of people of color in the book (unless there is a mention of a maid or other servant that I flashed past because I was reading so fast). There are Catholics and Jews; other than that I guess it is presumed everyone is a white Protestant as the representation of the Standard Person.
There is a lot of sex in this book, and a lot of sexism—and constant measuring of women against regressive standards of weight, age, appearance, and so on (nothing new, and certainly standards that continue today, but it permeates the book so alarmingly and despairingly). The women engage in a lot of sex, often (mostly?) out of wedlock, and what I felt I did NOT see was reductive slut-shaming. It is assumed that women have sexual feelings, that they want to act on them, and that they (sometimes) take pleasure from sex. There are ways in which that may be undercut but I bet I could find many a more recent novel and novels published today that are much more “conservative” about women’s sexual activity than this book is. I wonder if that is one of the reasons it was so popular.
Finally I wanted to mention what might have been my favorite exchange in the book. I do agree that Anne and Jennifer’s relationship is not a full friendship in that they keep things from each other. I read VotD when I was 14, secretly, at might grandmother’s house, and while there is much in the novel that I recall, I have no memory of the episode about Jennifer’s relationship with Maria, the Spanish woman. While Maria herself is a controlling and abusive person, and while an argument can (should) be made that the book is hostile to lesbians with lines like “those awful freaks who cut their hair and wear mannish clothes,” (unless that is merely meant to reflect Maria’s hostile personality), for me the most heartfelt and sweet exchange in the book is between Jennifer and Anne:
“I love you, Jen—really.”
Jennifer smiled. “I know you do. It’s a pity we’re not queer—we’d make a marvelous team.”
Is the exchange then undercut by their agreement that there can never be equality in love? Or is this the one moment where Susann is suggesting that there can be but they just don’t see it because of their awful experiences in their various love affairs and their fractured social interactions? I don’t know.
What a downer of an ending, though, and yet entirely appropriate. Which is maybe why I always go back to reading about swords and dragons.
JL: Yes, to everything you just said. The world of The Valley of the Dolls is a white, white, white world.
That was a lovely exchange. I like to think that it’s not undercut by anything. But then the whole book undercuts it, doesn’t it? They none of them end well.
It reminded me that there were many lovely moments between the three women before Neely became famous and deranged. The first third of the book when they’re becoming friends is very touching.
Then there’s Neely, oh, Neely. It’s very hard not to think of her as Judy Garland. And knowing that the book is a roman a clef and that Jennifer North was based on Carole Landis who killed herself aged 29, that Helen Lawson was a thinly disguised Ethel Merman, makes me even sadder about the book because I can’t pretend it’s all fiction. Alas. According to Wikipedia Susann was “quoted in her biography Lovely Me saying that she got the idea for [Tony] Polar when she tried to interview Dean Martin after one of his shows; he was too engrossed in a comic book to pay attention to her.” As someone who quite likes comic books that strikes me as more than a little unfair, Ms Susann. Makes me want to read the bio though and re-watch the Bette Midler flick based on it.
I think the book was tremendously popular because, as we both found, it’s unputdownable, because it was a roman a clef, and because it was, as you say frank about sex and female sexual desire, also sometimes it’s hilarious. So let me finish with one of my favourite passages:
“Anne I think you’re afraid of sex.”
This time she looked at him. “I suppose you’re going to tell me that I’m unawakened…that you will change all that.”
She sipped the champagne to avoid his eyes.
“I suppose you’ve been told this before,” he said.
“No, I’ve heard it in some very bad movies.”
Hahahaha! Take that, loser. I can almost see Anne rolling her eyes.
So, that’s some of mine and Kate’s thoughts. (Trust me. We have many more.) What did you all think of Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls?
Our April book will be Rona Jaffe’s Best of Everything which we’ll be discussing over on Kate’s blog. We will announce what date and time as soon as we figure it out.Add a Comment
Have you heard about the anti-slow reading app called Spritz? It’s a speed reading app, “reading reimagined” they say. Why do you need a speed reading app? Because reading is so time consuming. The thing that takes the most time is moving your eyes across the page so Spritz presents the text to you one word at a time with key letters highlighted to help you recognize the word faster. The app will supposedly help you read up to 1000 words a minute. The average reading rate of an adult is 220 words a minute. They are touting you can read a whole novel in under 90 minutes! That way you know you can either read more books or move on to doing something else with all your extra spare time.
Spritz is basically power skimming. One. Word. At. A. Time. Can. You. Imagine. What. That. Would. Do. To. Proust? Or Henry James? Or Virginia Woolf? Or pretty much any writer who isn’t a robot? Why anyone would want to read a novel that fast is beyond me. No, wait, I know who would. People who only read so they say they have read. The ones who aren’t really readers but want to look like it so they can sound smart.
But what sort of comprehension can one possibly manage at 1000 words a minute? Hardly any according to the Telegraph. There are limits to how fast you can process information. Apparently we max out on spoken words at 300 words per minute. And I don’t know about you, but when I read, no matter what I read, I hear the words in my head and if I don’t hear them in my head they don’t really register and I forget them, get lost, don’t know what I just read. So I wouldn’t be surprised if the 300 words per minute max for spoken words also held true more or less for reading.
Plus, when we read we don’t just read one word at a time. We read phrases too. Our eyes also do not move smoothly across the page even though that is what it feels like. When we read our eyes move back and forth across the line as we put together an understanding of what we are reading.
The people at Sprtiz want everyone to use their app. Sorry Spritz, you won’t get everyone because I will never use it. Ever.
If you want a demo of what the app looks like and how it works at different speeds, you can give 250, 350, and 500 words a minute a try here. If your experience is like mine, 250 felt fast but totally doable without much effort. At 350 I started to feel tense and felt my shoulders start to move up to my ears. At 500 my blood pressure shot up and I felt a little crazy and angry because I couldn’t completely comprehend the whole thing. One could argue that with practice, speed will improve. But what’s the point?
I’ll stick with slow reading, thanks.
It’s a well known fact that a child in possession of a well-loved book is unlikely to set down this well-loved book. Case in point:
Yes, both Turkeybird and Littlebug are smitten with books. To the point they simply will not put them down at any time, even while walking. This, makes me one very happy mom.
Also, tomorrow is T-Bird’s big 7th birthday! If you get a chance I know he’d love to read all your birthday wish comments! (Like I said, he loves reading…especially when it’s about him. Haha!)
Original article: Walking And Reading
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At the recommendation of a friend (thanks, Catherine!) I bought Into the Unknown: How Great Explorers Found Their Way by Land, Sea, and Air for my six-year-old boy for Christmas. It’s a beauty of a book, written by Stewart Ross and illustrated by Stephen Biesty (of Incredible Cross-Sections fame). Each chapter follows a different explorer and includes a gorgeous fold out map and diagram of the explorer’s route and travel style.
I highly, highly recommend it. Reading it straight through from beginning to end isn’t something my son is ready for (the text is geared toward a slightly older audience), but he likes to pick a small section for me to read at a time, and he always chooses a fold-out to study. He wants to read every label for all the parts (not unlike his fascination with Richard Scarry’s books).
I love that feeling of just sort of soaking in the book, meandering through and getting to know it bit by bit, landing on favorite parts and coming back to them again and again on a nonlinear journey. It reminds me of my own love for the Oxford University Press story collections as a kid. Beautifully illustrated by Victor Ambrus, they were these great kid-friendly versions of the Canterbury Tales, the great ballets, and King Arthur’s tales, among others. Sadly, they look to be out of print now, but I think I’ll have to chase down some copies to have as our own. Click here for a few cover images from Victor Abrus’s website.
I didn’t understand everything about those tales at the time, but when I re-encountered them later in school, it was thrilling to realize I already had a framework in place. The stories were familiar and felt like they were already mine. I’m always hoping to give my kids some experiences like that, and I hope Into the Unknown will be one of them.
The elementary school had its book character parade last week, and my son wanted to dress like Marco Polo. We didn’t find a picture of him in the book, but we found an 18th century illustration online:
We found a silk jacket at the thrift store (100% real! reversible!), along with a faux fur shrug we could use for the hat. I made the hat (two U-shaped pieces sewn along the curve) from an old T-shirt with a double-thickness of sweatshirt underneath for body. I tacked the fur band around the bottom.
Since I’m working on a nonfiction children’s book myself, I have a new appreciation for just how much research goes into something like this. I can’t imagine how long it must’ve taken Mr. Ross and Mr. Biesty to create this handsome book. Bravo!
Speaking of nonfiction for children, I just ordered a couple from my favorite local indie, Park Road Books. Amy Karol of angry chicken recommended two comic-type books, one about the presidents and another about the Greek myths: Amazing Greek Myths of Wonder and Blunder, and Where Do Presidents Come From? They sounded so good that I called up Park Road right away. I’ll be there tonight for the spring author line up, sponsored by the local chapter of the Women’s National Book Association.
P.S. Family: I’d like to get this book (Into the Unknown) for the oldest nephews, so I’m calling dibs now. Sorry!
In Carole P. Roman’s fifth installment of her award-winning Captain No Beard series, The Treasure of Snake Island, the crew of the Flying Dragon discovers the power of reading.Add a Comment
Creativity doesn’t wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones.
Moments matter – Every single one of them. I try to use each one wisely.
This past weekend we lost 60 moments of sleep for daylight savings. Well, the humans did. I got those moments back in spades 60 times over.
Mom uses one hour of moments each day for work. And by work I mean she sits there and types on the computer and talks out loud to herself. Sometimes the Creativity visits her during that hour. I love visitors. I’m not sure I’ve ever met the Creativity Visitor, though. Maybe tomorrow…..
If the Creativity doesn’t visit at that exact work time, Mom still works. Each month, she makes a new story and fixes up an old story (or two or three) for her 12×12 Challenge. She also reads books about writing books, and reads books like the books she writes. Wait. What?
Writing time is not for blogs, not for Facebook, not for email, not for Words With Friends, and not even for TV.
It’s just working on stories in one way or another – writing them, reading them, fixing them, thinking about them, submitting them to agents and publishers, and giving me cuddles and treats…. (See what I did there?) If the Creativity doesn’t come – Oh well. Maybe tomorrow…..
We’ll be ready.
Thanks so much everyone for all the fabulous suggestions in response to my previous post. Lots of great ideas there. We really appreciate it.
Your suggestions clarified two things for us:
1) We realised that we want to stick to the twentieth century. So we’ve decided to only read books from after WW1 up to 1994 (ie twenty years ago.) After WW1 because that’s when women across classes1 were joining the workforce in larger numbers; because I’ve done a lot of research on the 1930s; and because there’s an argument that that is when you see the beginnings of what is now called women’s fiction.
2) As much as possible we’d like to do books that are available as ebooks because that makes it much easier for everyone to take part. We will, however, make exceptions for books we’re very keen to read. Such as Han Suyin’s A Many Splendoured Thing.
We’re also making a decision about historicals. On the one hand I think they say a tonne about contemporary women’s lives and feminism and like that. But on the other hand I really do think they’re their own genre. Plenty of historicals by women never get talked about as women’s fiction. Hilary Mantel, Dorothy Dunnett etc. So I’m leaning against. Especially as women’s fiction today basically means fiction about women’s working lives that don’t fit the romance category. Also we’ve already got too many books to choose from! But like I said we’re still thinking about it.
Looking forward to talking Valley of the Dolls with you this Wednesday night (US time) and Thursday afternoon (Australia time).
Pretty much the only thing writers love as much as books and writing is talking about books and writing. So each week (or so) here at Adventures in YA Publishing, we’ll post a question for you to answer. The questions cover all topics important to writers: craft, career, writers’ life, reading and books. Together we’ll become better writers by sharing tips and discussing our habits and practices.
Last week, my dad told me that my step-mom regularly borrows twenty or more library books a week. I asked how she can possibly read that fast, and he said that she doesn’t: if she likes the cover, she will borrow the book. When she gets home, she reads the first page, and if she likes the first page, then she reads the last page. If she finds the last page satisfying, then she will read the entire book. On average, she reads about two books a week. Which leads me to the…
|Do you peek?|
photo credit: fazen via photopin cc
Today I had the privilege of being a reader at a local elementary school. I got to read one of my favorite books, The Bee Bully, and talk to the kids about being an author. The energetic kindergartners made me feel very welcome and I really enjoyed spending some time with them. We talked a little bit about what it means to be a bully and how important reading is.
Three reasons why reading is important to young children:
1). Reading exercises our brains. That’s right, our brains need a workout too. Reading strengthens brain connections and can even create new ones so pick up a book and help your brain exercise.
2). Reading improves concentration. Kids have to focus when they read which can sometimes be a difficult task. The more you read the longer you can extend that concentration time which will continue to improve.
3). Reading helps develop imagination. When you read your brain translates what is read to pictures. Did you know you can create a movie in your head while you read? We become engrossed in the story and we can connect with the characters. We can sympathize with how a character feels and reflect on how we would feel in that same situation.
Now go grab a book and BEE A READER!
Yesterday was Read Across America Day and the day schools celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday… and I had such a fabulous day! I had the opportunity to visit Mineral Springs Elementary School and share Being Frank with Pre-K through 2nd grade students! Big thanks to Jerry Ethridge for the pics below! Filed under: writing for children […]Display Comments Add a Comment
Last night, as we were trying to get her calmed down for bed, my daughter was playing with various dolls and stuffed animals. She picked up a baby doll, propped it up on top of the headboard, and said:
"'I'm at the top of the tree', cried Baby'."
Yes, the "cried Baby" was part of the sentence. She is now using dialog attribution in her pretend play. Stephen King's advice in favor of using "said" instead of "cried" notwithstanding, my husband and I thought it was pretty cool.
Clearly, she has listened to a lot of books.
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As readers we like to think we are really awesome and special people simply because we like to read a lot. At least I like to think that. Kinder, gentler, smarter, introverted perhaps and maybe even shy but still people savvy, high emotional IQ, and the list goes on and on. Just Google “benefits of reading” for yourself sometime for lists and lists.
But does literature really make us better people? MobyLives reported the other day on a Stanford Center for Ethics panel on the moral merits of reading and the findings? Reading literature does not make us more moral but it apparently can make us better bullies!
Reading literature does make us better as assessing someone’s emotional state and as a result we tend to have a well-developed Theory of Mind. Bullies also generally have a well-developed Theory of Mind. Of course we like to think we use our powers for good but I’ve watched enough superhero movies to know that even the good guys are a hairsbreadth away from turning bad, Superman even had a go at it. And remember, Hitler was a great reader and I don’t think anyone would argue he was a good person. Then there were the days long, long ago when novels were considered corrupting. Seems like they may have been on to something after all.
I mean, think of all the trouble we could cause if we decided to be bad. We’ve got so much knowledge stored up in our heads. If I had a wine cellar I could totally pull a “Cask of Amontillado” on somebody! And I know some of you would be able to effectively execute a locked door murder and know how to not get caught.
Dangerous we are. Good thing we are too busy reading and can’t be bothered to be bad unless being bad means staying up too late with a book or calling out sick in order to spend the day reading.
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A ten year old boy, who's read the book, told his mum he wants all the other books to read. He loved the story and so will you. It's like other's have said very funny, very crazy and a thrilling and exciting read, which is the story of our lives!
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|photo of Teju Cole by Wayne Taylor|
Add a CommentWhat books are you embarrassed not to have read yet?I have not read most of the big 19th-century novels that people consider “essential,” nor most of the 20th-century ones for that matter. But this does not embarrass me. There are many films to see, many friends to visit, many walks to take, many playlists to assemble and many favorite books to reread. Life’s too short for anxious score-keeping. Also, my grandmother is illiterate, and she’s one of the best people I know. Reading is a deep personal consolation for me, but other things console, too.