Thank you Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett for reminding me of what it felt like to read without putting the book down! This weekend, I read “the Good Omens” and felt young again.
The last time I was actually reading (versus staring absent-mindedly in my Nook, in a marshrutka, while on my way home from work), was in college in the US; I had an access to the huge library and I decided to take full advantage of it. Rather than doing research and making my own list, I just went ahead and followed one already approved by smarter people—I decided to read all of the authors that have received a Nobel Prize in literature. So I started with prize-winners from 1905 and finished with 2006. I skipped poets (reading poetry in translation makes no sense) and the university library lacked few authors, or had their work only in original language, but other than that I made my way through a century of literature, some of them better than others, some clearly chosen for political reasons, others being overrated, or underrated, some I liked, some –I didn’t, but basically they were all good books. It gave me material for talking with strangers on planes for years. See, everyone knows their native authors who had won a Nobel Prize. Thus, I talked about Isaak Bashevis Singer with Jews and Grazia Deledda with Italians.
How sad, out of these 100 books, I can probably name 10 now. Others were interesting to read, but I barely remember the plot…or the authors…damn.
Additionally, I took classes in American literature, world literature, women writers and Jung in film and literature. Main reasons for choosing those classes were that grades were based on participation and essays, rather than tests, so each semester I had at least one class which required last effort and was actually more fun than hard work. Another reason is that I did not have to buy books for those classes. Again, I took advantage of the library.
Back then, I was commuting for 2 hours (one-way, making 4 hours roundtrip) each day to get to college; when you spend so much time on bus and train, you read, read, read…oh, happy times.
My intellectual development was at its peak in college; I have been degrading since then. I think I have not read as much books in all the years since I’ve graduated, as I did in one year back then! See, I can’t even write in complete sentences that make sense. If this was my college paper, I would get C.
I sense changes in my life. I am thinking of leaving work. I am thinking of developing, learning, growing. I am planning to take a month off and fly to Denver. And I have discovered that I have to catch up with my Nobel authors—I am 4 authors behind!
God bless the Nook and Torrent system. Truly, this is the best marriage of two cultures: an E-book from abroad and opportunity to download free books at home. I am toying with the idea of conquering the Pulitzer’s prize…the pic: my purple nook