reading

Feed yourself a classic

2009 is freaking over! When did that happen? Oddly enough, I feel pretty good about my resolutions for this past year—I now go to the gym at least 4 days a week, and I write 20 minutes a day pretty consistently. Boo yah!

Other, harder resolutions (like: finding-new-job-and-life’s-purpose) have fallen by the wayside. Whatever. That’s what 2010 is for.

Also on the docket: start riding a bike, take a photography class, and read more Classics of Literature.

Personally, I do not have a problem picking up a book for fun—I read superquickly (it’s just the truth!)…especially fantastic graphic novels or engrossing YA lit. But somehow the hard books end up stacking up in piles on my bedside table (Infinite Jest, I’m talking to you).

So this year? More classics. BUT HOW? Well, my inbox alerted me to the existence of a service called DailyLit, which delivers installments of books into your email or reader.

Yep! I now have a subscription to The Brothers Karamazov in my Google Reader and now on chapter 2. While I can’t speak to the quality of the translation, and I do find I miss footnotes for classics, it is getting me reading a Russian master in between my pop culture fixes. So there, 2010, I’m so on my way!

And now, a case for waste

The other day I was running errands, and stopped by my charming local library branch to pick up a few books on hold (best discovery ever—you can select books online from any one of the library’s branches, the book is delivered,  you get an email. It’s almost as easy as Netflix!).

That day, three pre-teen girls were in front of me in line. They were checking out stacks and stacks of manga; between the three, I would say that there were twenty-five books. You could just tell that the rest of their afternoon would be spent in unadulterated, unplanned, comic book bliss.

Seeing them reminded me of my own summers at that age. My mom, brother and I would go to the library, where I plop down in the YA section and read until it was time to decide which books I would check out (The maximum number of books my mom would allow as always equal to my age—she discovered that I needed limits at the library the way other kids need them with t.v. or videogames or the computer).

Once I got home, I would retreat to my room, where I would tear through all the books in record time. At that age, I barely lifted my eyes from my book at the dinner table, which never ceased to peeve my mom and dad.

But, oh, it was glorious literary gluttony, combined with the sense of endless freedom that summer afternoons used to bring. Watching those girls in the check-out line, I grew supremely jealous of their free time, that their afternoons were their own to waste.

These days it’s very hard to claim a Saturday or Sunday of your own to fritter away. Even if I choose to waste an afternoon on the couch, I am very conscious of time having passed. The most delightful those summers was that I had no idea where time went and didn’t care, for the summer seemed to drift endlessly on. And that’s something you don’t get back.