Maybe you’re my kind of geek, with far too much good stuff on your shelves to read in your lifetime, half-tempted to wring your hands and say, Aw, screw it! i can’t possibly go into another Barnes and Noble or Borders and browse the new books, smell the beautiful smell and crack the perfect crack of the binding, only to face the overwhelming frustration once again of trying to wrap my puny mind around just how freaking many there are.
For as many years as i’ve been having this existential moment in bookstores, i’ve never found the perfect book. Do you know what that feels like? i sure don’t understand it. i sincerely believe that every book has something of value to teach. But when it comes right down to it, i don’t want to read any more of what’s out there. i don’t want to read anything. i want to read my perfect book. And i’m frustrated that i haven’t found it. Why haven’t i found it? Am i crazy?
i swear, it’s not like i haven’t looked. Homer, Shakespeare, Grisham, King. There’s so much to appreciate. And yet there’s something missing and i’m not sure i can adequately explain it. i love epics, westerns, crime dramas, horrors, post-modern suspense, creative nonfiction, classics, chick lit. Clancy, Orwell, Steinbeck, Keillor, Greene, Sayers, Updike. i love their books and i’ve been changed by them.
And i don’t want to read any more. i don’t want to read more contrivances, no matter how skillfully concealed. i don’t want to read things that aren’t real. i don’t want to read about people who could have lived and the horrible things that might have happened to them. i want to hear music. i want to experience a beautiful truth and know its realness down in my bones. It’s easy to think you’re seeing “the truth” in fiction and how much fiction is more true than real life. Fiction writers pour themselves into their books—and some are as true or truer than any memoir.
i want my own experiences. i want to be a viking and the prince of Wales, a noble lawyer, a concert pianist. i’m tired of living other people’s lives. i want mine to be an adventure.
Maybe it’s just a phase. Most of my moods like this are. If you have any advice, i’d love to hear it.