The second I was old enough to know what sex was, I knew I wanted to have a one-night stand. To me, it seemed the most deviant, cool, subversive, and flat-out dirty thing there was. I wanted to do it immediately. Largely because I had no idea what it entailed. I figured a one-night stand happened when two people, one of whom was a woman, went to a man’s apartment for martinis and stood on the bed the entire time, trying not to spill them. Sometimes they bounced on the bed until they hit their heads on the ceiling, and that’s how the girl (a) passed out or (b) knew it was time to go home.
From “One-Night Bounce” ~~ an essay by Sloane Crosley
I mostly read about war and grief and fear and suffering. As my daughter might say, “I need a new book, but can you please recommend something not about slavery or the holocaust?”
The girl has a point. In honor of The Atlantic‘s list of the funniest essayists, here’s one of my favorites. (okay, one of my favorites not by David Sedaris)
What do you read when you leave your comfort zone?
Hmm, good question. Actually, though I’ve been writing thrillers, it pushes me out of my comfort zone to read them. I much prefer a thriller on screen than on the page.
I might be the opposite. I think I like reading a thriller so I can go at my own pace. And, strangely, sometimes the screen is too visual and I can’t go to sleep with those “real” images in my head. I’m such a big baby as I get older. Scaredy cat, I’ve become!!
I’m the same way with the images Teri…careful of what I watch cause they stick in my head. When I read something, I imagine it, but it’s like my mind only takes it so far.
I don’t know. I read pretty widely I think, but if I had to pick a genre that gets neglected, it would be nonfiction. And I don’t mean memoirs. Biographies or factual accounts. There is a high school event I take students to every year called the English Festival, it’s at the local college. The always have one or two of these type books and I always seem to enjoy them, so I consider it expanding my horizons.
Examples? Phineas Gage (man with a medical mystery), Surtsy (volcano), and this book about an arctic voyage are the ones that pop into mind.
Oh my, I should SO read more nonfiction. My husband reads a ton of nonfiction so there’s certainly a lot of it around here. I keep saying I’m going to read THE MAKING OF THE ATOMIC BOMB (for some reason that one sticks out on the shelf) but I never quite get around to it. Someday!
I’m really enjoying AN AVAILABLE MAN by Hilma Wolitzer. The writing is wonderful–the story tender.
Ahhh, a quiet story. I’m glad to know about this one. I sometimes wonder how anyone gets these published anymore.
i try to read poetry like i read a novel. i’ve got a copy of kahlil gabran’s The Prophet b/c someone once told me it was one of my dad’s favorite. i never seem to be able to stick with it though; i flip-flop through pages and start in the middle.
Funny you mention that, because I always always feel confused when I sit down with a book of poetry, even if it’s a poet I like and respect. Where to start! What if I miss something! What if I spend 1/2 an hour on poems I don’t care for and put the whole book down and miss the “good” ones!
The angst. Geez.
Just start in the beginning. Read the poems you like, skip the poems you don’t. If you saw the amount of angst an average poet puts into organizing a manuscript (we take something you might call plot and change it to “trajectory” and then we worry and fret and worry and fret), you’d realize that poets pretty much throw their MS in the air and arrange them in the order they fall down.
I don’t know when I’ve been uncomfortable reading a book—there are things that shake up my belief systems a little, but I’m not sure if that counts . . .
Maybe I need to expand my reading lists?
I know I need to expand, though I am reading a mystery right now and that’s rare for me. I must say —- I love it. It’s so dark and quiet and smart!
Christine Falls by Benjamin Black (alias of John Banville). The first in his series about a pathologist named Quirke. I’ve already got the 2nd book here on my shelf, ready to go.
Thank you! 🙂
I read widely, so I guess there isn’t a lot outside of my comfort zone (does that sound arrogant?), but, honestly, I usually find myself dissatisfied with a book when it’s one that someone has recommended I read. Those almost never turn out well. Not sure why that is except that I know the recommender will ask how I liked it, or I go to it with the wrong mind set/expectations/experience.
Paul, you might have just solved the biggest problem with book clubs. I feel like the minute a book club (even mine!) picks a book, it loses it’s shine and the expectations are too high. And maybe, just maybe, there’s a little something to making your own discovery??
Believe it or not, fiction. I feel much more at ease reading memoir or nonfiction. I totally agree with Ms. Crosley. The moment I heard the term one night stand, I wanted one. And they all, every which one of them, lived up to their name.
So glad to see you, MSB !!!
Glad to see you, too, my friend! How’s the work? It’s been tough for me to get any thoughts down but I have been reading. I just finished The Descendants and, wouldn’t you know it, it took me 3/4 of the way through to realize it wasn’t written by a man.
The work feels like work. The good news is I feel distanced enough from it that I’m seeing it more clearly and more critically. The mentor I had at the Yale workshop back in June was a savior, and I’m not exaggerating — I feel like I found her at just the right time.
What’s that saying? When the student is ready, the teacher appears?
Can’t wait to hear about your summer, and especially your big photo project!
Nothing has made me feel as out of my comfort zone as last night, when I was reading my own ms.