Hiiiiiiiiii guys! So I'm noodling with the idea of trying to write a daily post in February - I've been so writers' blocked lately (can "writers' block" be verbified? Is "verbified" acceptable for use?) and I feel like that, coupled with laziness, has made me think it's okay to just...not write, which it isn't. SO here we go - with the spirit of doing some kind of writing daily, whether it's good, bad, or indifferent, here's me thinking a bunch about books, because I read SO MUCH last month, and because I'm so excited about both the book I'm currently reading and a few I have on deck.
- First off, a hot take of sorts. I know a lot of people are deeply devoted to *their* medium of book delivery - whether it be physical books, audiobooks, or e-readers. I'm an omnivore when it comes to books - at any given time, I usually have at least one hardcopy book going, along with an audiobook for those lovely California commutes and usually at least a book apiece in Scribd, Kindle, and iBooks. It drove my mom crazy when I was little that I would be reading a dozen books at once (and that the corresponding stack HAD to sit on my nightstand no matter what) - I like the flexibility the modern options for reading grant me.
Along those lines, this article on The Millions fascinated me. The gist? Ownership of physical books has been shown to be correlated with increased wealth. The article decries this as completely the wrong reason to appreciate, collect, and cherish physical books - citing a plethora of better, more soulful reasons than aesthetics and advancement. I'm inclined to agree with the writer - I have an impossibly hard time letting go of books, and love to re-read favorites - but I guess that, in my mind, anything that gets a person reading is worth it (even if it means audiobooks or eBooks all the way).
- I am a longtime Twitter user, and over the nine years I've had an account the rabidity with which I use the medium has vacillated wildly. I'm currently in an "on" phase (hit me up at @MissSchweg), and one of my favorite accounts I've followed in the last several months is Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster). Yes, I follow a dictionary on Twitter. This is in no way related to the phase I went through as a child where I tried to read my dad's stunning old college dictionary, cover-to-cover.
The account is worthy of a follow for a variety of reasons - it elaborates on common word choice errors, illustrates the evolution of words and colloquialisms, and expounds on words relevant to holidays, social events, et cetera. Most significantly, however, the account subtweets - radically - at our esteemed leader, calling him on his BS, explaining some of his more interesting word choices ("bigly" comes to mind, as does "braggadocious") and offering veiled commentary on the latest occurrences in the political world. I found this article on a day in the life of the account's manager to be so fun, interesting and eye-opening.
- One of the points I always (try to) hammer home with people when they react incredulously to the amount of reading I do is that the act of reading is universal. From the fourth millennium BC, reading has been part of civilization, and today it has been estimated that 83% of the world's population is literate. I loved this peek at photographer Steve McCurry's book, "On Reading," which showcases the mind-boggling variety of the world's readers...it made me appreciate the sheer banality of my reading spot of choice (curled up in my ancient gray overstuffed armchair, usually swaddled in a ridiculously plush blanket, with a beverage of some kind close at hand).
- Can reading make you happier? I was immediately sucked in by this (admittedly clickbait-y) title on The New Yorker - with the amount I read, I thought, I must be happy if it can! The actual point of the article, that books are therapeutic and that there is an entire genre of therapy that has evolved around that premise, intrigued me (and still does). Their elucidation of why books are effectively making people "happier" was more what I was expecting - an increased capacity for empathy, stronger social perception, and more refined ability to interact? All worth picking up a book if you ask me, and definitely all things that would make me happier.
- And in that vein, I fell madly for this article on the world's required reading lists. Although my personal list of "books to read," housed in my "Life Lists" Excel workbook (NERD ALERT), just crested 525, I couldn't help but add a few, reminiscing on some of my favorite high school required reading as we went. Fun story: in 10th grade Honors English, I had already read the entire curriculum at the beginning of the year, so my fantastic teacher (hi, Mathison!) designed a bunch of mini-units for me to do instead of/alongside the regular curriculum. In one of those units, she introduced me to Willa Cather; in another, CS Lewis - both of whom have become longstanding loves of mine, and for that I will be eternally grateful to her.