One of the best things about an extended holiday (like the one I’m trying with just-partial success to shake off) is the opportunity it affords a reader like me to read with even more promiscuity and less accountability than normal. I know there are those who delight in drawing up and plowing systematically through precise reading lists, seriatim. Good for them. Doesn’t work for me, usually.
No, I prefer to bounce from title to title when “reading for pleasure” and not prepping for a particular class. Though compulsive about many other things I’ve never been one to insist on finishing a book I’m not loving, just on principle. Can’t blame Kindle for that, I was title-surfing back before it was simple to sample with just one click. But Kindle’s definitely made it easier for people like me to bounce around without commitment, complaint, or notable consequence.
A quick slide backward reveals these free excerpts I’ve downloaded and devoured in just the last few days:
- Katie Roiphe, In Praise of Messy Lives
- George Saunders, The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil
- George Takei, Oh Myyy!
- Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible
- David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
- Randal Keynes, Darwin, His Daughter, & Human Evolution
- Robert Gottlieb, Great Expectations: The Sons and Daughters of Charles Dickens
- Malcolm Gladwell’s foreword to The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs
- Alain de Botton, How to Think More About Sex
- Stephen Colbert, America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t
- Sean Carroll, The Particle at the End of the Universe
- John Powell, How Music Works
- David Niose, Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans
- Massimo Pigliucci, Blogging as a Path to Self Knowledge
- Chrisoula Andreou and Mark White, The Thief of Time: Philosophical Essays on Procrastination
I don’t apologize for the catholicity of my freebie list, but I do apologize to my friends in the shrinking and vulnerable world of independent bookselling. They really need my dime and my commitment. To that end, I’ve borrowed a New Year’s resolution (I forget from whom) to buy at least one bound physical book at Parnassus every month in 2013, books I discover there without premeditation.
But I’m keeping my Kindle.