I'm in yet another period of insomnia. My method of dealing with it is to not take it seriously, going with the flow, spending time reading instead of staring at the clock. 4:12, though, if anyone's interested.
Doesn't help that I've injured a muscle between my ribs. Man that hurts. I can't sleep on that side, which is my favorite as luck would have it. I dosed myself with ibuprofen, then apologized to my sensitive stomach with some acid reducers. No time wasted calling the pharmacy or my doctor to ask about drug side-effects, either. I prefer to live life by the seat of my pants. (Actually, she's just lazy. – ed.) People who read those mile long warning lists that come with drugs are wimps. They have no sense of adventure.
This morning's reading delicacy, helping me pass the time while I wait for the pain in my back to lessen, is So Many Books: Reading and Publishing in An Age of Abundance by Gabriel Zaid and Natasha Wimmer (translator). A great read, but depressing as hell. Even if we read two books a day, he tells us, no way on earth could we make even the smallest dent in the number of books in existence. Not to mention those coming out every few minutes.
Things like this make me re-think my long-abiding need to read with such a frenzy. With so much being published, I'm assuming three-quarters of it is tripe not worth reading. Tack on the classics, the ones I've read and would like to re-read, plus those on my long-term reading list. Oh, then all the quality literary journals, magazines, and what not. If I spent every minute of every day reading, I'd still never come near getting to all the stuff worth the time to read. I'd also never come up for air, which is really over-rated if you think about it. Breathing's for wimps, too.
Tell me all this isn't a bummer to this almost librarian. Go ahead. Just try. But stand far, far back.
I'm planning to start a nonfiction reading group at the library next year. I belong to the fledgling classics book group, plus two Reader's Advisory groups, each reading about a book a quarter or so. Plus my special "pet" interests. Can't forget those.
And you have …? Impossibility, even with that little bit. I could read at a frenetic pace, blowing through books like a Bangkok whore goes through clients. But then I'd never remember much about them. Again, like the Bangkok whore.
Or, I could read more slowly, discarding the crap and slowly reading through the quality writing. Then getting sidetracked by something flashy, putting aside the other books and starting on a whole different tangent.
Wait. That's the problem I have right now.
One book at a time? Ouch. Two. Maybe, but still ouch.
I try to solve this problem several times every year. Every time I fail. It's tough – a constant thorn in my side, nails on a chalkboard, 24 straight hours of Glenn Beck.
I can't process any more right now. The Advil's kicked in and I can't keep my eyes open. Reveille for my daughter will come at 6:00 a.m. If she gets up (please god) that's half an hour or so of extra sleep for me. If not, it's the speedy little mom taxi and a grumpy start to the day.
4:37, and my head's about to hit the desk. I'm going now, to try not to think about this or any other problems, instead dreaming of unicorns and magical bunnies. All trying to kill me. But that's okay, 'cause I'll be able to fly. Or drive a car that turns out not to be a car at all, but a tricycle, leaving me at the mercy of the unicorns and bunnies. Then my dog will want to discuss Jung with me, wearing a nicer dress than any I own. Glorious sleep.