Warning: This post was written and edited after another pain-free dentist appointment. It is more rambling than usual. Yes, that is possible.
While listening to a recent episode (#159) of Craftlit, Heather mentioned a fascinating quote from The Economist, which really struck home to me and highlights how the books for today feel out of place. Unfortunately I seem unable to track down the quote and due to time, am also unable to re-listen to the start of that episode to capture it for you. In summary the quote was to the effect of: If someone read only one book last year, it was most likely a certain book by a certain author (which I will not name). They thought it was a good book. If someone read many books last year, they were most likely not all the most popular books bought at a mega-mart bookstore, nor were they books that are made into movies. I’m not going to rant on this right now, however, it did cause me to pause and ponder. I try to find publishers I’m not too familiar with and authors who are unknown. I try. I don’t always (often?) succeed. But it is a goal.
Sometimes, however, my curiosity gets the better of me and after a period of avoidance I break down and pick up the once super popular book. I finished one of those this past week and also have completed another which I’ll also add into the popular category.
Right. What would a semi-health conscious, mostly vegetarian, and kosher keeping individual find useful about a Julia Child project? Why did I avoid this only to succumb last week? Not for what was cooked, I can tell you that, but for the popularity of the project, the book, the movie and the associated connotations most bloggers receive après such.
Sure, I read a few of the more popular blogs, but I’ve always felt that most people assume that I’m doing this to get a book deal. Honestly I’m not sure why I write here, or more importantly why I continue to do so. Yes, I believe that it’s helped my writing and my on-the-spot communication skills, but I don’t see myself becoming rich or famous. Yes, I’d love my name on the byline of a book but it’s not a huge goal in my life. My convoluted point is, I feared if I read the book or acknowledged the project it would be assumed I wanted to be like Julie.
Yet I stayed away.
When the movie came out last year I heard good things, from just about everyone I knew. That nudged my curiosity. But I still couldn’t do it. I was embarrassed to check the book out from the library. It’s not my type! I don’t read this sort of thing I claimed (I have nothing against those that do and please don’t go through my reading list and point out all the times I do read this sort of thing, I happily live in my world of ignorance). Upon purchasing my ebook reader I discovered an unexpected feature. I could check out books from home. The cover is also akin to a brown paper cover.. trust me, everyone reads over shoulders in the NYC subway system. MetroNorth is more refined, but I do have some fun (other people) book/writing on the subway stories. I’m not hiding racy novels or the Kama Sutra, but I don’t always want to have conversations about what I’m reading with strangers (please then, explain to me why I’m writing here).
But I digress, again.
So I figured, what the heck, adding an ebook to my reader doesn’t increase the weight, so I don’t have to schlep around anything extra if it turned out to be a book I detest [ooh! let’s mix tense!]. A stranger can’t make a passing judgment on me at the library or on the train about the book in my hand (because I’m weird like that, though who cares what they think about the ebook reader). In my eyes, I had very little to loose by electronically borrowing this book.
Then I read it. I have this to say: I enjoyed it. The writing style is a bit odd, but I think I enjoyed it more from a platonic voyeuristic stance. I know! I know! E and I aren’t normal New Yorkers, or normal by any yardstick. Yes, my wardrobe is mostly grey and black, but that’s about where I stop. We rarely go to bars, eat out, see movies, plays, etc. Yet we’re curious what others do both for employment and pleasure. I should also note that at age 25 we were categorized as boring in the eyes of our parents. At 30? Yeah….
I think that’s why I enjoyed it. I got to see a life painting that seemed common yet foreign to me. Right. I should disclose I’ve never seen Sex in the City. (I can’t wait for the google results on _this_ post). But that’s about it. I don’t think it’s a high work of literature. That it’s a highly innovative project, except that she was blogging early on and that is about it. I’m happy to see her move from something she hated to something that perhaps gives meaning and happiness to her life.
In other books…
Style Statement was borrowed and subsequently acquired as an attempt change my tune from blah to something more positive. I’m not sure if it was turning 30, being more busy than before (I’m not complaining but I’d love a nap or for that busy to translate into billions), being sick a few times this winter, or that it was a pretty rough winter, but I’ve been very blah and unpleasant to be around. I’ve still not finalized my own style statement, but I found the worksheets nice to give me guidance to direct my thoughts. An unintended benefit is that I found the whole format quite fascinating as I begin to revisit the Project from grad school and decide if any of it should be kept from the trash/recycling bin.
(An aside and a hint: if you want me to be carnivorous, schedule the meal for after a dental appointment. For some reason I seem to crave meat after each one. Tonight, however, we made pizza because I did not feel like buying and cooking meat. Or, since I wrote about red meat in my post on this date last year, perhaps it’s an end-of-winter thing. I’m not sure, but if you want to take advantage of me, go for it. E got real burgers twice in the past month!)
Schedule Shift Notice:
Until April 12th I will try a revised schedule to hopefully improve writing and free up a bit of time for my back-logged Work and for pesach preparation. Who knows, I might even get a chance to finally redesign and relaunch my website. The schedule is as follows:
The posts will be split over two weeks, with a kitten post every Friday.
Week one: Monday books, Wednesday fibre, Friday kitten.
Week two: Tuesday cooking, Thursday words (house, garden, travel, &c), Friday kitten.
repeat until April 12th at which point I’ll decide if I’m going to continue this revised schedule or return to daily posting.