Sunday, December 16, 2012

It never ends.

If I'm going to keep blogging at this pace I am going to have to expand my subject range from endurance sports and into other interests of mine (of which there actually are some).

As may be obvious I do a lot of reading and honestly I'm not very discriminating about what I read. I read everything that comes to hand and sometimes that's not very literary. But I am always reading. I really don't know what I would do without being in the middle of a book. When one ends I start another. Chain reading I guess.

Lately though it has come to my attention that other folks have different attitudes and habits about reading. A few of these strike me as particularly odd.

One friend of mine is saving some of one particular author “for later” because he doesn't want to run out. It is true that this particular author is unlikely to write any more (he's dead) and has been an inspiration to many, but the behavior still seems bizarre. The way I see it there are new books coming out every day. Some of those are going to be of interest to you. Some of those are going to be good. And some will even be great. I understand that there will never be another author X, but that doesn't prevent someone from being just as good in a different sort of way. I know I will never again read Tolkien's The Silmarillion for the first time. That's okay I have found a lot of other books and authors that are just as good in their own way. Nor am I particularly off put by having the ending “spoiled”. The journey is just as important as the destination (this of coming from someone who saw the ending of The Usual Suspects before seeing the rest.)

Another person I know only reads two authors. He reads them over and over, but only those two. He has found what he likes I guess. This is equally, no, even more bizarre. Granted the two authors he reads are pretty darn good, but it seems so limiting. I wonder how many other authors he read before he came to the conclusion that those were the authors for him. Again I'll use the example of Tolkien. I read The Silmarillion perhaps 12 times in one year. I was a little obsessed back then (I still am just about different things), but I read other things. I read essays about Tolkien, his writing, published notes, and even studied his created languages (no, I can't really speak elvish, just a few phrases). But I got over it, within a year or so I was reading Dostoevsky, then Pirsig, and so on. I did re-read The Silmarillion and The Hobbit a few months ago and quite enjoyed it.

Now comes the most surprising and probably most common weirdness of all. Apparently some people, when they come close to the end of a book actually slow down and read it slower. Only reading a few lines at a time. Spreading it out and savoring it. Not wanting the book to end. This is completely unfathomable to me. If anything when I come to the end of a book I forget everything else and dive in completely. I read to all hours of the night throwing caution, meals, and sleep to the wind. It's not so much that I want the book to end, but I am so eager to see what comes next, how it plays out. Besides, I know that as soon as I am finished there will be another book waiting for me.


MrDaveyGie said...

Matt, what are your thoughts on listening to novels during endurance training? I never have, thought about it now that, that technology is available. I will say 95% of my cycling is solo and 95% of that time I am listening to music.

wildknits said...

Understand. Used to be on first name basis with the librarians, and they watched my girls grow from barely being able to peep over the desk (and to shy to ask questions) to heading off to college. We were weekly visitors leaving with stacks of books.

Now, between full-time work, running schedule and limited library hours, I find myself mining our bookshelves for things I haven't read before and some favorite authors that are worth a revisit.

If all else fails, there's always the cereal box. ;-)

Matt Maxwell said...

Dave: I don't ever listen to music or audiobooks while riding. I've never felt like I needed it even though probably 80% of my riding is solo. I also don't have the technology believe it or not.

Wildknits: I have read many a cereal box.