« Laundry Day cats | Main | A lot of words for a tiny house! »

July 28, 2008

Time time time see what's become of me

A few astute folks noticed from my lazy laundry picture yesterday that I am reading INTO THE WILD by John Krakauer.

I am really enjoying this book. I had always wanted to read it but hadn't gotten to it somehow, then my friend Corey gave me the movie a few weeks ago to borrow. I watched it last weekend and bought the book the very next day (along with "gifts for others" I have added "books" to my very short list of things it's OK to buy during my 6 months of no-spend. As I am now intimately acquainted with the mysterious underworld of publishing royalties, I decided I wanted to buy books to support the authors I read whenever possible!) (By the way, I don't expect this of other people. My flexible morality allows for all sorts of loopholes and I just really don't expect anyone else to live their life with my little quirks.) (Not that I am quirky, of course.)

ANYWAY, I love this book because I love this author. He has a big vocabulary and isn't afraid to use it ("sere geography") but doesn't litter big words around just to show off his big brain. He's a perfect mix of reporter and writer, this is my kind of book (I am also a big Sebastian Junger fan, so that may explain it.)

Whatever you may think of the young man at the center of the book, the story itself is well-told and keeps you sucked in. I especially love reading all the other stories he's woven in about young men and adventurers lured out to the wilds of nature never to return, one way or the other.

It's fascinating how we're all looking for something. I go to this big church in Los Angeles sometimes and I watch all the people who come, like me I guess, to hear an uplifted word or something that might change them or help them hold on or move past. Everyone is looking for something one way or the other. I think maybe sometimes people give up or push it way down but we all had it in us to look for ... something. This is a good book, I'm enjoying reading it. I just wish I could have found the original version, not the one with the movie picture on the cover. I am nerdy like that. Oh, in also-nerdy news, I got out my road atlas of North America and looked up Alaska and the places where the story takes place. I do that when I read books -- fiction or non-fiction -- that take place in real places. I also do this when my parents are traveling, I look up their campgrounds on the roadmap and see which freeways they've taken. Nerd alert!!

Time is compressed, limited, everyone trying to find the magical "downtime" or "free time." Every time I write about books here I get hundreds of amazing suggestions and the list of titles I want to read grows and grows and my free time doesn't seem to grow in proportion!

August starts on Friday. I know I can't squeeze more time out of my day because believe me if I could I would be lying on a beach right now instead of half-awake with yet another day of to-do lists stretching ahead. But I have decided to dial down the TV for the month of August. I went on to my Tivo and cleared off all my season passes except my very faves (Oprah, which I think is in reruns all month anyway and The Closer, The Daily Show and something else, I forget what it was) and I'm going to read instead of watching TV. Watching TV is my one big zone-out-relax thing, but reading has the same effect and at least then I feel like my brain isn't petrifying.

I'm not sure how I feel about TV, except that I don't want to waste all my life in front of it. We didn't watch TV as children and later when I was a teenager I could watch TV but it was supervised ... the whole family watched the same thing. No TVs in bedrooms, no TVs in separate rooms of the house. I never watched much TV until I got married, and the person I married LOVED to watch television so it was on all the time. And there are some good things to watch out there! When I moved in my place by myself, the TV provided a little sound and light when sometimes I was dismally alone. So I think TV can be kind of soothing that way. Plus if you watch the right stuff you can learn ALL kinds of things, I mean really now.

But I don't like doing things habitually as brain retardants (you know... when you want to turn down all the chatter and worry and to-do lists in your head? That's needing a brain retardant.) Wine turns down the chatter and so does TV, but then again so does a good book. The main problem seems to be that watching TV feels somehow less virtuous than reading, you know? I always seem to run into smug people who insist they haven't watched TV since the Carter administration. I don't find it more character-enhancing either way, but since my time is so limited right now I have to make a choice... watch another re-run of True Life or The Deadliest Catch or read a book from my ever-growing mountain of books I want to read. I like changing it up anyway, trying new things so that I don't get stale in a routine that fits more out of habit and laziness than real choice.

The cats like the new twist of events ... I generally flop on the bed to read and they love going to bed, it is their very favorite thing in the entire world, I am certain of it. So everyone gets on the bed and I read and they bat around a hair elastic or my post-it-note highlighter pen and occasionally irritate each other and we are all one happy little family. It's a nice way to relax after a long day.

Posted by laurie at July 28, 2008 3:05 PM