Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Habits

I'm still kicking around my 2010 resolutions (or "commitments" as someone recently suggested they be called) but one I'm firm about is a change in my reading selections. Last year I borrowed a goal from my mom and set out to read at least 6 non-fiction books, which is something I haven't done since text books in grad school. I've always associated non-fiction with stuffy historical records of an individual's life that would read more like an obituary than a narrative ("born on a mountaintop in Tennessee..." and so on) or cornball self-help books. I want to be entertained and moved and don't always want to learn something. Unless cookbooks count I just don't read non-fiction.

But I watch the Daily Show and Colbert Report and when they interview authors about their non-fiction books I think, "Now that's not boring - I can read that". I also know that I have huge gaps in my fund of knowledge regarding the workings of the world at large, so I thought Mom's goal would be a great toe in the water.

I read Joe Torre's book and learned I couldn't care less about the Yankees. As previously mentioned I read Beautiful Boy and Tweak, which I think gave me a different kind of empathy for the complexities of addiction and definitely made the show Intervention a little less entertaining. I read a fun book by the former NY Times restaurant critic describing how different her dining experiences were when in various disguises versus her notable self, and learned that any book read while standing in a swimming pool on vacation is a good one. I read a story of a boy soldier and felt lucky to grow up in a small, safe town where the worst threat to safety was gossip. I listened to Blink and had a hmmmmm thought bubble over my head the whole time. I did sneak in one biography, if you can call it that, as I read about the meteoric rise of my favorite TV ninny Sandra Lee and learned that not only is she truly nuts she is even more of a loon than I could have guessed (on one page she wrote "we all had a good laugh at my sassiness" then a few pages later quoted Nietzsche). Despite my best intentions I did not get to the anchor of my stack, Team of Rivals, though I was re-inspired recently when on the Simpsons Moe said "now that's some good Doris" as he perused it at a bookstore. I loved everything I read for different reasons and will keep at it (suggestions are welcomed).

So this year I'm resolving/committing to reading at least 6 of the books I know by name and/or author but have never read. I started Wuthering Heights, which I bought in October when the cover art caught my eye. It's, um, something. But just as one of the many reasons I like traditional worship is the tie to all the saints who have worshiped or will worship in the same day, there is something special about these books. I'm looking forward to meeting them.

The image is, again, from The Onion.

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