I ran across a great Q+A recently in an old company employee newsletter (in the days of print newsletters) that asked people what others thought they were reading versus what they actually were reading. It was very amusing, so I’ve asked my digital-age colleagues the same thing.
Here’s what they say. (This is Part I of a two-part entry).
Because I love sports, people think I’m reading Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis. Lewis monitors the strategems of the maverick general manager of the Oakland Athletics, Billy Beane. And they’re making a movie based on the book…starring Brad Pitt.
I’m actually reading Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen, which is a story based on the legend of the notorious Everglades outlaw Edgar James Watson, who may or may not have killed a bunch of people in Florida in the early 1900s. It’s about 900 pages long, and I love to read enormous books. There’s something exciting about starting a very long book, and I like the feel of it in my hands.
People think I’m reading Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, because it’s so popular and then I could “join the conversation,” and Stoner by John Williams because it was so amazing that other fiction is now ruined for them.
I’m actually reading Girls to the Front by Sara Marcus, a history of the Riot Grrrl movement, because it is incredibly inspiring and also a true story of an amazing feminist revolution. I heard the author speak last fall, and listening to her made me feel that I could do anything I wanted to do!
Some of my former professors think I should be reading anything in the Spanish language, as my ability to read, write, and speak Spanish has rapidly diminished in the years since I completed my last foreign language credit.
I’m actually reading Winter’s Tale, Mark Helprin’s brick of a book about a burglar in magically-realistic Belle Epoque New York City. I’m also reading The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec, Volume 1 (Pterror Over Paris/The Eiffel Tower Demon), the first of Fantagraphics Books’ English translations of a beloved adventure comics series from French comics legend Jacques Tardi. The Adele Blanc-Sec releases are a big deal, both because one sees in Tardi’s line work the stylistic germ of numerous modern cartoonists—and because I know very little French.
People think I’m reading Pencil Drawing Techniques, edited by David Lewis. At least the people at the library who saw me heft an armful of drawing books think I should finally be reading them after maxing out my renewals. The people at Michael’s who saw me buy the basketful of drawing supplies probably think so too.
I’m actually reading The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti. It’s a story about an orphaned boy with one hand who is adopted by a thief claiming to be the boy’s long-lost older brother. I picked it up because the flap copy promised visits to old New England whaling towns, and I have a special love for anything that reminds of Melville. But I’ve become so completely attached to the boy and his mentor-in-thievery that I don’t want the book to end. I’ll master pencil drawing techniques another day.
People think I’m reading Marcel Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu (Remembrance of Things Past) because it’s French, it’s long, and it’s achingly nostalgic.
I’m actually reading True Grit by Charles Portis because it’s American, it’s short, and it’s not the least bit nostalgic (even though the narrator is looking back at an episode from her youth). Both works, though, are about a common theme–the end of a way of life–so at least I’m in the ballpark.
Be sure to check in next week for more from TFCB!
[Photo credit: booksandpublishing.com]
4 thoughts on “What Are You Reading?”
Does it count if you watch the Monty Python A la recherche du temps perdu very short version contest on YouTube?
Loved this. Scampering off now to find a copy of the Tardi. Love a book with a pterodactyl on the cover!!
Domenica Di Piazza
Yes, I too was inspired by everything my colleagues are reading, and like you, I was especially enthused about the Tardi series. More to come on this in next week's posting.
Domenica Di Piazza
I'd forgotten all about that Monty Python sketch! It was hilarious, but I don't think it actually counts…
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