B is for Book

Reading a real book. This one is good so far. It's called H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. I'm on page 182.

All good writers are readers. And I have not been doing enough reading.

Oh sure, I read a lot, but find my eyes drawn to too much cotton candy–fluffy and sweet without much substance.

I brought a pile of books to read at the beach. My beach reading is usually geared toward memoir–the beautiful and yet unsatisfying West With the Night; biography–I read Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton on Nantucket a decade before it was a play; and the odd–yes, one summer I read the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks’ 9/11 Commission Report. My preferred fiction runs from Harry Potter, to Roddy Doyle to the aching Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague which had one of the saddest passages I have ever read. I am not a big reader of procedurals,  or romance–just not my style. But I do like me some magical realism.

Yet my reading has been on screen. The day-by-day play-by-play of this whack news year. From “did he really just say that?” to “what will they do next?” to an almost numbing accounting of police killing and killings to attacks on innocents all over the world, I just click and read and click and read. I get distracted occasionally by fights between pop stars and the you-won’t-believe whatevers. And no, I did not get all wound up about nude paddle boarders, but I am sorry to have the “knowledge” that some people did.

So, I am going on a news diet for the rest of my holiday. No more up to the minute feeds. I won’t click on the stories while I am looking at your vacation pics and family time. Seriously, I’m going on a diet, not a hunger strike.

I will now close the browser, lower the laptop lid and open my paper book. And turn the pages until I finish it. And then repeat with another book. And, I hope, another. I want to be a better writer, so I better be a better reader.

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