You’re supposed to pay attention to things you never noticed before and then are suddenly everywhere in your life, right? Let me be clear, let me introduce myself.. hello, I’m AB and I’m a reading-0-holic. I love it all, books, all kinds, fiction: literary, trashy, serious (hello, Jonathan Franzen), non-fiction: please don’t me die before I’ve read everything David McCullough, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Robert Caro and Michael Lewis have ever written, magazines: how do people keep up with the New Yorker? It’s so god-damned good and yet I just can’t get to it every week, blogs, and then you know the whole rest of the internet. I enjoyed digital, you’ll rip my Nook out of my cold dead hands (please buy things from Barnes & Noble and support the non-proprietary, non-Kindle only format of the Nook. You know deep down you want physical book stores, you do), but if you’ve ever opened a new book and stuck your nose deep into the pages to inhale the new book smell goodness, you are my kind of people. That is one David Foster Wallace like paragraph of all over the place-ness.
Wrangle it back in, AB. I realized one day that I’ll never read everything or even the most important things on my reading list if I didn’t stop changing course with each new shiny book that was recommended or read or referred to that I needed to drop everything to get to. So I made a list, I got my Amazon wish list as an Excel file (ask me how!), I added to all the books I own that I haven’t’ read. Mark my words, this was a terrifying exercise. All those books! Guess how many I owned that I’d never read. Guess! It’s too embarrassing to say (email and I will tell you). This can’t go on. Someday I’ll read that book didn’t cut it. I needed to prioritize.
I stared at my bookshelf. What stared back at me? Moby Dick. I may be the only person in the United States who did not read this in high school. But I did purchase it, apparently in a used book store in New York City (per the bookmark in the book) at some point. I refuse to check if the bookstore still exists. I will chose to believe it does. Next to a photo of the cover of that book I could have written: someday I will read that book. One day I decide that someday was today. So I ambitiously started the great novel.
Well, it’s hard. The language is so beautiful you want to linger over every sentence, it’s so hard to leave them behind. Then one day I realized I was 200 pages in and we hadn’t left shore yet. This made me feel as if this was going to be the longest book of all time. Oh Ahab, get on with it. Move the plot ahead faster. I’m used to much smaller chunks of information these days, I’m sad to say (not even sad, just horrified, embarrassed and depressed). The great book started holding me back from reading other things. The time I spent with it was so long. What about all the other books? So I put it aside for a little bit, just a little bit. But then I started noticing things in my life: one of my favorite publishers and blogs is Melville House, Melville and Moby Dick are mentioned in an amazing number of blogs and articles I read, there is even a Led Zeppelin song called Moby Dick. Then even the novel I turned to for relief in hope it would be easier, The Art of Fielding, a book to that point had been about a college aged baseball player, integrates a love of Melville into a character’s life. At some point you have to admit life is telling you something right? I am meant to finish Moby Dick and maybe now is the time. Call me Ishmael.