Reading in an Economic Meltdown

As I wing my way through our global economic meltdown, I'm reading whatever falls into my hands through the kindness of friends and strangers. I read the Sunday NYT and SF Chronicle book reviews (filched from the recycle bin outside our local minimart on Monday mornings) and listen to our public radio station's fantastic News…

As I wing my way through our global economic meltdown, I'm reading whatever falls into my hands through the kindness of friends and strangers.

I read the Sunday NYT and SF Chronicle book reviews (filched from the recycle bin outside our local minimart on Monday mornings) and listen to our public radio station's fantastic News and Information service (to which I have not pledged in years).

Therefore, I am always HEARING about books I'm dying to read. Constant reminders that the global economic meltdown has impoverished me of buying the latest books – my life's sole mad-money fetish. If I can not buy new books, there are lots of others like me, so I worry about how are writers getting paid.

I know I'm not.

Since I am fully aware of the writers' usual money plight – made twice worse by the economy, I URGE people to buy new books. I feel REQUIRED by writer karma to buy from and support my fellow living authors.

Two of my friends from grad school have recent books out. One is Columbine by Dave Cullen. Huge seller. The other is The Museum of False Starts , poetry by Chip Livingston.

I know these guys. I want their success. And here I am squeaking out groceries and power bills every month, and feeling guilty for not buying those guys' books.

Yet.

I'm stuck with books I've never heard of and / or would never, ever pick for myself. Whatever I'm given or I happened into, I try to try. I do not always make it through. Sometimes I just can not. Sometimes I force myself. I figure at least it's a way to learn something about writing.

Here are the best of my summer's slim pickin's:

The White Tiger . I devoted a whole blog to this I loved it so much. It's really tragic but sarcastically funny.

Cold Comfort Farm . Oldie but a goodie. Loved it! This is on my “read it again” list.

Learning to Drive . Vermont author Mary Hays. Never hear of her. A really fine read.

The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie. Approach with caution, read with enthusiasm. Very complex. Fun and fantastic (as in fantasy).

The Nasty Bits . Tony Bourdain. Duh! I read this twice and did not even remember having done it! Sure would like to read Medium Raw . Hope someone turns me on to it.

As with most areas of my life ranging from health care to clothing, being stuck with necessity rather than choice is, putting it mildly, a creative challenge. But I'd rather wear a thrift store bra than look over at the book on the nightstand and say, “The heck with it.”

Turn off the light. Stare at the ceiling. Wait for the next surprise book that makes me not want to go to sleep. That becomes a guilty pleasure I steal time to indulge in rather than just more words, words, words.