Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I'm lost in the pattern, and the pattern is lost in me

So back in the days of living in San Francisco (basically those years covering 2000-2004, mostly) I couldn't read. Not as in I was unable to decipher letters on a page, but I had zero attention span. I still believe this is because I was working my first post-college job, as a receptionist at the Pacific Stock Exchange, and the job really didn't involve a whole lot of...work...so for eight hours a day I was on the internet, doing really useful things like playing on Neopets. I swear it ruined my attention span and I only remember reading a handful of books back then (most of which were Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, which probably also had a hand in turning me off from reading).

In 2005 I put reading in a context my OCD brain could understand - I started counting the books I read, with the goal of reading 50 in that year. Then, even better, in 2006 I found the book 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die in a bookstore - and I found my life's calling.

My attention span issue has since been cured and I read all the time now. I don't just read the books on that list of 1001, I read pretty much anything. And I let books I have read off that list influence what other ones I read.

Back in 2001 I picked up a copy of John Fowles's A Maggot at Cody's in Berkeley. I had read The Magus and The Collector a few years before and loved them. But I couldn't get into A Maggot. Blah historical novel. Well, that and John Herman ruining it for me - I don't think I was 20 pages in when he said "Oh I thought it was totally obvious that..." Thanks, John. Anyway, I've picked that book up again because it's on the 1001 list - which means I have to read it - and total proof that my four year case of ADD is gone - I'm 1/3 of the way through and still reading and enjoying.

Even though I know the twist ending.


(By the way, no matter how many books by Faulkner are on that list, I'm not reading a single one.)
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