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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 19, 2012/ 29 Tammuz, 5772

A slow reader's lament

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | BEACHES AREN'T MY THING, and reading on beaches even less so. I've never understood how anyone can enjoy a book in the midst of all that sand, glare, and greasy suntan lotion. For reading ambiance, I'll take an easy chair in an air-conditioned room , and leave the damp swimsuits and gritty beach towels to those who appreciate them.

On the other hand, I love the special summer reading lists that newspapers and magazines publish as beach season approaches each year. I love the expanded book sections that appear before the holiday season every winter too. For that matter, I love perusing book reviews and leafing through publishers' catalogs and nosing around in bookstores. And as my wife discovered when she met me, my idea of interior decoration is books on bookshelves, preferably floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall. (Her preferences run more to lovingly tended plants, clustered together with rain-forest-caliber density. Negotiations are ongoing.)

I've been a book reader for as long as I can remember, but until I was in college most of the books I read came from -- and went back to -- the library. The books I actually owned as a kid were relatively few. With disposable income, however, the world changed. I realized that the pleasure of reading books was amazingly enhanced by the pleasure of owning books. I liked seeing around me books I had already read; I found it gratifying that my encounter with a book continued even after I'd finished reading it.

But above all there was the delight of anticipation. I snapped up books that intrigued me, that I thought would be good reads, that got great reviews. Alas, I was like a kid whose eyes are too big for his stomach: I kept helping myself to more than I could possibly finish. It didn't help that the older I got, the less time there was for pleasure reading. Or that my ability to acquire books faster than ever -- hello, 1-Click! -- didn't come with the ability to read them any faster.

Ah, if only I could read books as fast as I acquire them! Even half as fast would be a blessing. Even a quarter as fast.

On the floor next to my desk as I write is Peace, They Say, Jay Nordlinger's new history of the Nobel Peace Prize; Surviving Hell, Leo Thorsness's account of his years as a POW in North Vietnam; and Nicholas Carr's The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains.

I really want to read them.

But I still haven't gotten around to At the Edge of the Precipice, Robert Remini's book on Henry Clay and the Compromise of 1850; All Other Nights, Dara Horn's historical thriller about Jewish soldiers in the Civil War; and Ayaan Hirsi Ali's memoir, Infidel -- and I really wanted to read them, too.

I suppose it's time I faced reality: I'll never catch up on my must-read list. How can I, when they keep publishing books I'm so impatient to read?

William F. Buckley Jr. once described the experience of entering a well-appointed home in which something seemed out of order. It took him a few moments to realize the problem: There were no books. It was jarring, Buckley wrote, to be confronted with the fact that there are people in whose lives books play no role whatsoever.

In my life, by contrast, books increasingly seem to play the role of those falling geometric shapes in Tetris. That's the classic video game in which you either clear out the shapes efficiently as they fall, or they stack up so high that no space is left -- and you lose.

It's an old lament of mine that I'm not a fast writer, but to paraphrase Tevye the Dairyman, would it spoil some vast eternal plan if God had made me at least a fast reader? Theodore Roosevelt was able to read, on average, a book a day; when he compiled a list in 1903 of the books he'd read since becoming president two years earlier, it ran to three single-spaced pages. Over the course of an exceptionally busy life, he read thousands of books, many in foreign languages. And, his biographer Edmund Morris notes, TR generally remembered everything he read. Dear Lord, what I wouldn't give for reading prowess like that.

I might even be willing to read on the beach.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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