Friday, June 09, 2006

I want to know.

I've discovered that there are whole blogs devoted to books and reading, and I've bookmarked a few of them, which means I'll get back to them from time to time. I haven't dared to let myself explore the realm of "litblogging" too widely, because I simply do not have the time. One of the bloggers I've particularly enjoyed...

(And yes, I know I'm supposed to identify and link, but that is so time-consuming ,for me, and if I take the time to do it, I might never get this written. I promise to devote a bit more time to it in future, and link to all the blogs I like best.)

...astounds me with the quantity of books she reads. I think maybe she lives alone and so doesn't have the distractions that a family presents to that many hours of reading, but she does have a job. In any case, she reads a lot of books, and most of them appear to be fiction. There was a time in my life when I probably wouldn't have observed that fact, because I, too, read virtually nothing but fiction--and lots of it. But now, I read less fiction, and I'm trying to understand why, because I get just as immersed in an author's world as I ever did, and I enjoy escapist literature (almost) as much as I ever did. But still, even with the limited time I can devote to reading, I give up some of that time to reading non-fiction, and sometimes the non-fiction is fairly...intense. (For example, I gave up a significant block of time this week to most of Book One from Augustine's Confessions.)

Now why, after a lifetime devoted to fiction, and with time to read more limited than ever, am I sacrificing reading fiction to reading non-fiction? I enjoy the non-fiction books, but not at all in the same way I enjoy fiction. I mean, I'm enjoying reading the non-fiction, but it isn't fun in any conventional sense. So why am I doing this? That is the question that reading the book-blogs has raised for me.

And the best answer I can come up with is that I can't bear not knowing what is in those non-fiction books. To put it in as few words as possible, I want to know. Period.

And you came to this blog because you wanted to read about living in Poland, which is what I said I was going to write about didn't you? And so the next post will be devoted to yesterday's day-trip to Zakopane, and I shall share a few pictures of the gorgeous mountains.


At 4:42 PM , Blogger Elinor Dashwood said...

I certainly know what you mean about reading nonfiction. When I was younger I read almost nothing but fiction. Now that I've grown, I normally have a half and half situation - half of my time is given to fiction, and half to nonfiction. I think you've identified for me the reason why - I just can't bear not to know!


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