Did anyone see that Claymation Christmas special, where there were the geese (I think?) caroling, and they kept getting the lyrics to “Here We Come A-Wassailing” wrong? All I remember is that at one point they sang “Here we come a-waffling…” Does anyone else remember this? Am I making it up? Anyway.
I had a very nice Christmas, and did well both giving and receiving. As expected, the majority of my haul came in the form of nice clothes, which was actually pretty cool–I can now go from laundry day to laundry day without wearing a non-buttoning shirt. They also gave me a very professorial soft leather bag, meaning I’m ready to put my t-shirt and backpack days behind me. It was like a one-day Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, except my room is still a sty.
Having finally finished Moby-Dick, I’m reading Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones, which I wholeheartedly recommend. Aside from being a great book in its own right, with a masterful grasp of character, it’s having a welcome and long-overdue effect on me: it’s gotten me doing pleasure reading again. You see, my ugly secret is that, since I started college, I’ve done very little reading outside of schoolwork. When I get home from class, or finish my homework, I unwind on the internet or the Xbox. Gradually, these aliterate habits have been extending into my school breaks as well; as often as not, I spend my lunch break playing Minesweeper instead of reading. Thank God I don’t have a Gameboy or I wouldn’t do any reading during my commute, either.
I think part of the problem is that I’ve been on a strict diet of classics for so long. Take Moby-Dick, for instance. I’m really glad I read it, and I definitely thought it was a Great Novel, with important things to say about humanity and how we live and what we believe. And there were passages that were genuinely exhilarating to read. At the same time, so much of it was so dry that I really had to force my way through it. I don’t think that’s Melville’s fault, I think it’s a question of time period and culture, but even so, you can see how I might not pick that up when I want to relax. It’s not a matter of reading books that are shallower, just more accessible. And I should be reading contemporary fiction as a matter of principle, anyway, lest I miss it when the Great American Novel is published.
So thank you, Alice Sebold, for your awesome and approachable book (and you, Julie, for the recommendation). If I keep up my end of the bargain, I can avoid that fate that might otherwise await me: becoming an English professor who never reads.