July 20, 2012

THEY CAN GO HIGHER (via The Mother Judd)

A book lover's lament : Why can't we read books as fast as we buy them? (Jeff Jacoby, 7/18/12, Boston  GLOBE)

With disposable income, however, the world changed. I realized that the pleasure of reading books was amazingly enhanced by the pleasure of owning books. I liked seeing around me books I had already read; I found it gratifying that my encounter with a book continued even after I'd finished reading it.

But above all there was the delight of anticipation. I snapped up books that intrigued me, that I thought would be good reads, that got great reviews. Alas, I was like a kid whose eyes are too big for his stomach: I kept helping myself to more than I could possibly finish. It didn't help that the older I got, the less time there was for pleasure reading. Or that my ability to acquire books faster than ever -- hello, 1-Click! -- didn't come with the ability to read them any faster.

Ah, if only I could read books as fast as I acquire them! Even half as fast would be a blessing. Even a quarter as fast.

In my life, books increasingly seem to play the role of those falling geometric shapes in Tetris. [...]

I suppose it's time I faced reality: I'll never catch up on my must-read list. How can I, when they keep publishing books I'm so impatient to read?

William F. Buckley Jr. once described the experience of entering a well-appointed home in which something seemed out of order. It took him a few moments to realize the problem: There were no books. It was jarring, Buckley wrote, to be confronted with the fact that there are people in whose lives books play no role whatsoever.

In my life, by contrast, books increasingly seem to play the role of those falling geometric shapes in Tetris. That's the classic video game in which you either clear out the shapes efficiently as they fall, or they stack up so high that no space is left -- and you lose.

Posted by at July 20, 2012 5:41 AM

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