In 2003, the New Yorker wrote a quirky little piece about Irving Tobin, a man who reads the New York Times from front to back every day. At the time, he was 18 months behind, so for him, the past was always the present and he was a blissful passenger on the Wayback Express.
There is an awesome little web gadget called Instapaper. Once you set it up (a very simple process), you just click the Read Later button in your browser and it saves all your online reading in a convenient, always accessible place. There are 74 pieces waiting in my Instapaper queue.
A friend of mine once wrote a short story about a curious book shop where the books have a mind of their own, reproducing at will and taking matters of justice into their own hands.
There’s a connection between those three things, but it is one I can’t quite articulate.
I am overwhelmed by the sheer amount of reading that lies in wait for me. I subscribe to Time, Radar, Entertainment Weekly, Dwell, The New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and the Chronicle of Higher Education so in my office there are stacks, literally, of unread magazines some of which I no longer subscribe to (Vibe, Wired, Essence). They are sitting there, mocking me, growing dusty, lonely with age. The Entertainment Weekly issues are the saddest because some of the new movie releases being discussed are already showing on cable. It has been that long.
I also subscribe to Tin House and I must admit that this, I read, generally upon receipt, because it only comes out four times a year and I end up feeling flush with accomplishment by the time I’ve finished the latest issue.
In addition to the magazines I have to work through, and the Instapaper queue there are the unread academic journals–Technical Communication Quarterly and CCC which I carefully organize like the good scholar should. And yet, I am quite reluctant to ever open their pages.
In addition to the magazines, Instapaper queue and academic journals, I have a ridiculous amount of dissertation reading to work through, reading which is not at all optional if I ever hope to graduate.
And then, finally, there are my beloved books, some nonfiction, most fiction. I have, admittedly, read most of the books I own, but there are also three shelves of books on my To Read list, things I pick up here and there that look interesting and if I don’t stop picking things up, I will soon reach the kind of critical mass where I can never hope to catch up in my reading in this lifetime.
I just had to get this off my chest.