Diana commented on my last blog: "Does it ever get tiresome reading books that are about something? Have you ever tried reading a book to just escape?"
Good question. Makes me think.
I think of most book readers as becoming so when they're children. I also suspect they read a great deal in genre or commercial literature, and that they read quickly. I have a niece who can go through a Twilight book in a couple of days, another friend who reads books in one sitting. These are the people who I think of as the book readers of the world, the ones who keep traditional publishing alive.
I'm happy they're around.
I didn't get hooked on reading until I was 18 and in an English class at junior college. In this class we read books like Tess of the D'Urbervilles, 1984, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and A Clockwork Orange. Each book seemed to offer some different perspective on life, a perspective I couldn't expect to glean from any television show or movie or album. Novel reading is direct communication from one person (writer) to another (reader), and the genre struck me as more unique and radical than other media, in the way individuals can be more unique and radical than groups of folks.
As I've read diligently and widely over the last 20 years, I've also grown to love the use of the English language. I get a charge out of--if not profoundly new ways of thinking--new and beautiful ways to say old things. Last night, here's what jumped out at me in Finding Time Again:
"The only true paradise is the paradise we have lost."
Proust does lay down the law.
Basically, a book--if I'm going to like it--has to offer, for lack of a better phrase, insight into life. I need to be entertained by it, sure, but it needs to go beyond that. Does it offer a new perspective? Is it using language in a way that is making me see something in a way I've never seen it before? When I find a book that does this, I find my release, my escape.
So, to answer Diana's question, I guess I never get tired of reading books that are about something. And reading books that are about something is exactly where I find my escape.
Oh, yeah. And I escape into crazy shit like this, too.
So, enough about me. Tell me why you read books? I'd really like to know.
Yours in laying down the blog,
Buy Ghost Notes
Buy Songs from Memory
Buy Stuck Outside of Phoenix