Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Booked Out

I have a friend who just gave up reading one day. He still reads stuff for work and newspapers and the occasional magazine, but he altogether stopped reading books. This is a person who majored in English in college, and who I used to regularly swap books with and discuss how long it took to get through that latest Krakauer book, two days or three.

He vaguely mentioned a few years ago that he'd kicked the habit but I didn't really believe him, in the same way that I suspect most smokers usually bum a cigarette every now and then at a bar when they're drinking cheap lite beer. Not long before our conversation, I'd given him Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie, winner of the Booker of Bookers (best of the best). He told me he'd never finished it. I figured he just didn't like it that much but eventually he would come up with some other author he loved and away he'd go. But it was not to be.

Astute readers have noticed that last month was devoid of a "books" entry. That's because I did not read any books. I blamed it on the move and the hot weather and the kid learning to walk. But we're over halfway through August and I haven't picked up a single book, and since I'm staying in a hotel and my most strenuous daily activity consists of playing defense against Theo as he tries to dodge past me in the elevator and hit the alarm button (Incidentally, why are those buttons always at the bottom of the stack, exactly toddler-high?), you'd think I might make time to at least thumb through something by Maeve Binchy. But I just can't get motivated. I haven't even finished all the articles in the September issue of Vanity Fair and it's almost September!

This morning I was riffling through the stack of junk stuffed in the drawer of my bedside table. Underneath the free copies of USA Today, I found my copy of Midnight's Children. I'd forgotten I started reading it at the beginning of July. And never picked it up again, not even when Theo was asleep on the plane or at night before bed during Olympic weight-lifting prelims.

So I'm writing this to warn you never to read that particular book, unless you aspire to give up reading books forever. And if you see me wandering around, a half-finished National Enquirer tucked under one arm, blame Salman Rushdie.

1 comment:

G in Berlin said...

My brother majored in English and never reads, while I majored in genetics (and then went forward into business) and generally read madly. I am behind in my reading since I started getting so much of my news through magazines and as I stopped having a daily train commute, but I still read at least part of a book a day and I think f one stops reading, one is just tired of the material. Perhaps it's time to try a lighter genre?