Somewhere around Christmastime I fell into a massive reading rut. What I was reading was no fun, and there was nothing better out there, and there never would be. Everything was in ruins. Then I read this book. And for the past couple months, I’ve been on one of those glorious hot streaks where just about everything I’ve read has been fun, and the stuff that wasn’t I dropped without second thought. Coincidence? I have to give some credit to leaving behind the cold, dark, depressing winter, and stepping into the golden light of springtime… but Alan Jacobs‘ The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction definitely deserves some credit, too.
I like the tone of this one. It’s like your at a smart friend’s house, and he’s reclining in a chair and talking at length. Some favorite parts…
In an awesome footnote, relating to the “gateway drug” theory of lowbrow reading eventually leading to “better” books, an excerpt from Alex Rose:
In hindsight, this is obvious, but it’s a really good, liberating reminder:
Timing is everything. And along the same lines of releasing the pressure on yourself, we’re reminded that “Many books become more boring the faster you read them” and that “All books want our attention, but not all of them want the same kind of attention.”
I also liked this excerpt from Auden about thinking about how we evaluate the stuff we read:
If you find yourself in a reading rut, maybe this one will help you get out, too. Recommended.