I lucked out with a couple of book choices perfect for cozy winter reading:The Historian
Fun and readable without being insultingly stupid (ahem, Anne Rice); richly-detailed escapist fun for grown-ups. I enjoyed almost every bit of it.The Crimson Petal and the White
Yes, I love reading books about smelly Victorian whores. While this one initially put me off with its contrived narrative style, by the time I got halfway through I elevated it to a position right next to Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All
for being too-damned-compelling-of-a-story-about-women-to-have-been-written-by-a-fucking-man.
I also had to reread The Shipping News
. Because reading about Really Cold Places is so so much fun when you're tucked into bed with a hot water bottle on your feet and a steamy mug of tea in your hand. I might not read this book again, though, because it seemed almost too sappy this time around and I don't want to totally suck all of the magic out of it.
I'm getting bored with fiction but, for a good long while now, I've resisted reading most nonfiction that interests me. Why? Because the amount of reading time I have right now is meant to relax me and take my mind off work. If I read nonfiction I wind up working instead of escaping, and also feeling like I'm not doing enough; I should be taking notes! I should be writing! I should be remembering every detail! I should be making flash cards (seriously)! I should be smarter! I should read MORE! I should blah blah blah blah blah. When I read nonfiction it doesn't help me fall asleep, it just sends my brain on hyperactive adventures following intriguingly twisted trains of thought. And I totally don't have time for that. It's like I have to save all of that for when I have more time/money, or I think that I do because I'm not able to read books straight through without feeling compelled to DO SOMETHING ABOUT WHAT I'M READING and remember way more than I inevitably do (which is not very much in terms of details; the ideas stick with me but most of the details -- names especially -- just don't). I worry that if I don't take notes I'll forget where I learned these ideas and someday won't give proper credit to their sources. Yes, I am totally anal and riddled with anxiety over silly things.
So. My plan is to find some nonfiction that doesn't EXCITE me -- subjects that don't focus on things that totally fascinate me a whole lot or that I don't find super-relevant to what I do now, what I might do in the future, or have done in the past. But I'll try not to avoid those things like the plague, too. It's very sad that I have so many books on my shelves that I'm "saving" because I don't think I have time or energy or even just the brain-power to enjoy reading them. But you would be amazed at the way I can make virtually EVERYTHING seem super-relevant to things I care about.
The other problem is I really need to start learning new things again. Because I need to learn more useless trivia so I can perform better at solving crossword puzzles. Since I left college I have learned a lot, sure, but it's been practical stuff, stuff about my body, stuff about how to be happier, stuff about people -- on-the-job training type of stuff. I think I'm stagnating!!!Tucker
picked out a book for me last night that should hold my interest without riling me up: The Edge of the Sea
Anyway -- if you have any recs for intriguing (yet totally useless) nonfiction (especially if it could enhance crossword puzzle performance without keeping me up at night), make your suggestions in comments. I'm thinking more biographies are in order since they usually have a story about one person set against a backdrop of jolly historical details that I really don't *need* to remember (but if I *do* those details could, you know, help me with crossword puzzles).
Labels: books, education, escapism, gender issues, sex work