I Read Too Much

by , posted on Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010 at 8:52 am

Or at least so I’ve been told for most of my life. The thing is I know it’s true to the extent that I let it interfere with my daily life. Isn’t that what they say is the main indicator of whether or not the use of some substance is actually an addiction? Since I can trace problems with this back to reading so late at night that I got no homework done and didn’t want to get up for school in the morning back all the way to, oh, maybe second grade, I guess I’ve always been an addict.

Anyway, I am well aware that I can get on such a reading bender that I fail to do a lot of things I mean to do, most especially I do not write: if I am on a reading bender I tend not to write at all. And lately I’ve been on quite a bender. Lots and lots of fiction, a thing which is somewhat unusual for me lately as I have found myself gravitating more to non-fiction over the years, a steady evolution, after I finished college (English, so lots of fiction.)

Anyway, I had a fiction relapse and spend the summer absorbed in some new(well newer) fiction. It was an effective way to mentally avoid dealling with several pressing and urgent life issues, ranging from my state of underemployment to my son being deployed in a war zone, that were stressing me, I get that. But particularly hazardous when you can rationalize it by reminding yourself that you did major in English, that you do work at the local library, and that it would be well to get a grip on contemporary fiction.

All very fine and well until you are forced to admit that you are effectively retreating into an alternate reality.

And the last work of fiction I read forced me to that conclusion.

Check it out: Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel

by Gary Shteyngart

The title is deceptive. Oh sure, it’s a love story of sorts, but mostly its a running social and political commentary, set it a near-future where the United States is run (badly) by the “Bi-Partisan Party,” where “Ultra Fox” works people into a frenzy about gay marriage just as the entire country is imploding because our credit rating has been downgraded by the guy who really runs the world – the Chinese Minister of Finance, where vets of the Venezualan War are camped out in Central Park because they can’t get their pensions and benefits and where the most-discriminated against group are LNWI’s (Low Net Worth Individuals).

Outside of being truly funny in many places, the whole thing made me take the rest of my books back to the library, as I am strongly reminded why I want to blog to begin with.

Or as Shteyngart puts it: by reading this you are implying you agree and denying you read it.


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