Thursday, August 03, 2006

My life begins part two

Now that I have time to exercise and sit in the sun, I'm even cracking a book or two. I have always loved reading, and the greatest tragedy for a law student is how, at least in my case, I began to dislike it. Or at least avoid it. My eyes had a tough time reading the hundreds of pages each week. I managed to read newspapers, or internet news, or an occasional article, but I avoided recreational reading.

Something happens to you when you actually enjoy reading and lose it. YOu lose your inspiration. There used to be this world that was open to you, a world of adventure, of far away places, of intrigue. It has been said that the greatest tragedy in the life is not death itself, but what dies within while one lives. I sat there down at the newstand cafe and perused the economist and then the New Yorker. The economist held my interest, and I briefly read an article about Hollywood's top lawyer, who I concluded was probably a crook and an asshole, but who really liked Shakespeare. Anyone who has written books on Shakespeare can't be all bad.

Then I went across the street to the bookstore. There was some time in my life when I eagerly went through the titles and imagined having enough money to buy them; sometimes I spent my paltry teacher pay on them. But as I went through the titles, avoiding the fiction and focusing on the current events and politics, a feeling of disappointment came over me. There was, in short, nothing I wanted to read.

I came across a book about the rise of the religious right. Yawn....a book about depression...depressing....a book about a guy who had five careers...that might have been funny, but glib humor seems passe to me now. I opened a book by an NPR commentator and got through a passage about a cop getting his testicles shot off, then an ugly hooker. I wonder how far I would get with a passage about a female police officer being shot in the vagina.

There was the usual smattering of what I refer to as "female fiction". The rise of affluent, literate housewives has given birth to a whole generation of really awful writing, the reviews of which read something like "a story of a mother and a daughter in a northern New England Town, a deep, dark secret..." blah blah blah....Good writing transcends the audience divisions. So much of east coast writing is targeted at that audience that I fear really fantastic writers have gone the way of really fantastic musicians. They get the Janis Joplin and we get Brittany Spears. They get Edward Abbey and we get....Arundutie Roy or whatever the generic Indian Chick's name is.

There was a story about a man in Australia who managed to get himself published by impersonating a female aborigine. That was telling; it proved in no uncertain terms that the identity of the author now rules the day. The story isn't chosen by it's own power; it's chosen by who is connected to it.

I know now what at least one of my new goals in life is; it's to find a book that speaks to me.

Any suggestions?

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How Would A Patriot Act?

By Glenn Greenwald.

9:03 PM  
Blogger Nadiah Alwi said...

well, i don't have any suggestion yet now...but since I'm planning to be a writer, do you think you can tell me what makes you like a book?

:D

9:03 PM  
Anonymous aryn said...

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. Best book I've read in a very long time. Thankfully started it before bar study really began.

Great blog by the way. I think you were sitting across the aisle from me in Oakland.

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My suggestion is Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson (if you're in the market for nonfiction). See Ikat.org.

A word of encouragement...After I graduated in 2004 I felt very much the way you're feeling now about books. 2 years later, I'm learning to love reading once again.

And please, do yourself a favor. Forget about the exam for now. The die is cast. If you have to take it again you'll survive it - I speak from experience.

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Roonie said...

I have always loved reading, and the greatest tragedy for a law student is how, at least in my case, I began to dislike it. Or at least avoid it. My eyes had a tough time reading the hundreds of pages each week. I managed to read newspapers, or internet news, or an occasional article, but I avoided recreational reading.

Something happens to you when you actually enjoy reading and lose it. YOu lose your inspiration. There used to be this world that was open to you, a world of adventure, of far away places, of intrigue.


This makes me want to cry, because it is so true. Even now, over a year after law school (but only six months after my last run with the bar, so I guess it evens out), I still have trouble absolutely LOVING reading like I used to. I've purchased at least 20 books since moving here in March. I've read about 5 of them. I'm still obsessed with bookstores, but my motivation to read is on the mend.

I suggest The Kite Runner. That book moved me to tears and major emotions. It's about a kid in pre- and post-war Afghanistan. If you aren't completely moved by it, you're a robot.

1:04 PM  

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