Wrapped Up in Books

What is this obsession people have with books? They put them in their houses - like they're trophies. What do you need it for after you read it?

You know it's interesting when you read Moby Dick, the second time, A-Hab and the whale become good friends.

from Seinfeld, "The Ex-Girlfriend"


I have to admit: I'm usually a slow reader when it comes to books. Certain books, like the last few Harry Potter books and Staring at Sound, have been easy to get through and enjoy but others haven't.

In the last few months, I've tried to read Mat Callahan's The Trouble with Music and Frederic Dannen's Hit Men but found myself incredibly frustrated. The Trouble with Music is a great concept, but it goes a little too deep for me to fully understand the author's points. Centuries of philosophy, sociology and literature are thrown into the mix and while that sounds right up my alley, it all comes across a little too vanilla vague for me. Hit Men focuses on a number of record executives, mob men and the various ways music they put out music on major labels in the '70s and '80s. At times, it's really interesting, but reading about these kinds of people gives me a cold feeling.

Those are only two books that I've had trouble reading in the last six months. What's even more troubling is the two full stacks of books I have yet to read. Why do I have so many left unread? Well, a certain bookstore that I like to go to often sends out 20-40% off coupons every few weeks. Feeling like I can't pass this up, I just go for it.

In the last year, I've picked up/received as a gift Nick Mason's story of Pink Floyd called Inside Out, a book on skateboarding called Scarred for Life, Nick Hornby's High Fidelity and Songbook, Stephen King's On Writing, Scott Richter's Slamdek A-Z, a bio on the Clash called Passion is a Fashion, an anthology of death metal/grindcore called Choosing Death, Alex Robinson's latest graphic novel called Tricked, a bio on Elvis Costello called Complicated Shadows, Russell Simmons' Life and Def, Bukowski's Hot Water Music and a book on the Creation called Our Music is Red With Purple Flashes.

And all of these are gonna wait as I finish up We Got the Neutron Bomb and begin Fool the World: an Oral History on a Band Called Pixies. Why? Because I want to read something that I really want to read. Of course I want to read those other books, but the ones that really excite me are the ones that go high in the pecking order.

A major stumbling block with me is that I easily fall asleep while reading. Put me in the den and in that blue recliner and chances are good I'll be asleep for 15-20 minutes after reading a few pages. Maybe reading helps my eyes relax. I don't know. It's not like the material bores me, but reading in general makes me sleepy when I'm in a relaxed position.

However, along with continuing work on Post, I want to read as much as I can this year. I'm not going to try and read 52 books this year like Jason hopes to do, but I want to read as much as I can. I'll keep working on not falling asleep while I read too.


Anonymous said…
High Fidelity is a great one. I love Nick Hornby.

And I understand the falling asleep thing. Whenever I'm having trouble getting to sleep at night, I read a book in bed. Works every time.