Attention Span/What I am Currently Reading

Periodically, I’ll read in a bar. I know there are some folk who think that’s a bit silly, but honestly, relaxing in a corner with a couple of beers and a good pulp-y novel can be sublime. I wouldn’t recommend reading “Gravity’s Rainbow” in a bar (although getting wasted just might be the key to understanding that one), but something like “The Nest” (in which giant mutant possibly intelligent cockroaches ravage a small island) is probably fine. 

The pandemic messed up my reading habits, though. I used to have a few books going at a time, usually something light for bar/pre-bedtime reading, and something meatier for dedicated reading time, and usually a non-fiction book, for not fictioning. I found it next to impossible to concentrate on much of anything during the early days of the pandemic, and I played a lot of the video game “Stellaris” instead. I stunk at it, and still do, but there was something absorbing and relaxing about managing my empire of space mollusks, who only wanted to spread their one true faith in the goddess Mollusca through the universe. I’ve moved my gaming laptop onto a shelf in the past few months, where it sits happily collecting dust.

Of course, we’re still living with COVID, but at this point, things are as normal as they can be, and I’m no longer constantly distracted by… whatever. As I ‘got back into’ reading, I just alternated between something heavy and something light, finishing things in serial. It’s been a fine approach, and only recently have I dipped my toes back into reading a few things at once. So here’s what I’m currently reading:

“From Russia with Love”— I started reading the Bond books on a trip to Thailand (Thailand has the most tenuous connection to the Bond universe ever, having a couple of movies filmed in parts of it, which are then misidentified as other countries). Quite enjoying this one so far, it’s certainly the best written of the Bond books I have read; I’ll probably cough up a full length essay at some point soon.

“The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas”— I had a fascination with Gertrude Stein in college, but I never read this one; while I’m not really picking up what’s being laid down here, there’s an interesting angle here that I’m exploring. 

“theMystery.doc”— a long, literary novel of the kind I usually favor. Out of the three, this is the one I am least into at the moment, it was likely a mistake to start this at the same time as “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas”, and I’ll likely end up re-starting it. This is either going to be something I enjoy or something I endure, and it’s too early for me to tell. Reviews are mixed as well. 

Like most book nerds, I have a huge “to be read” pile, which grows if not weekly, then at least every other week. My methods for picking what to read next are really random; though I will admit this blog is shaping them somewhat. We shall see how that evolves. 

One response to “Attention Span/What I am Currently Reading”

  1. True Story: I enjoy ducking into a corner booth of a dark bar, sipping on a book and a drink, while reading the room. I would often spot others doing the same, sometimes sitting at the bar itself. I found myself attracted to the women who read at the bar, amused by interrupting interlopers who would inquire about the book, then immediately switch topics, simply using the book as a matter-of-fact icebreaker. The conversation would last a minute or so and she would go back to reading. The potential suitor left ignored the rest of the night.

    There was one particular lady I was particularly attracted to, reading at the bar by herself. I figured– if casual bros could shoot their shot, then I, a hardcore dive bar lurker with extensive knowledge of books and authors, might actually be able to ignite passion. I walked up to the bar and asked what she was reading. It was pure pulp. Some author I’ve never heard of, some plot I could easily imagine. We talked for a minute about things other than books and then I went back to the corner, to drink in my beaten up copy of Gravity’s Rainbow.


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