I read all day, every day at work. I read emails, pieces of paper that people scribble on and drop off at the office and fuzzy faxes.
When I get home, I read the New York Times, the Washington Post and The Onion online.
My bookshelf at home is stocked with a few books — most of which I've read already. I have a collection of Freud's writing, the Federalist papers, a book of short stories by Woody Allen and a bunch of cookbooks. But it has been a long time since I sat down to read a book.
I spent a lot of years in school dissecting literature and pulling it apart, so I took a break from heavy literature for a few years. I just recently felt like I wanted to enjoy a good book, so I walked down to the library — yes, walked — and picked up "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
I had read it in high school, like a lot of other kids, and it didn't make much of a splash with me.
On my second read though, with a couple of glasses of good Spanish wine to get into the same frame of mind as the author, I finally understood Nick Carraway.
In high school, he was a fast-talking narrator whose subtle storytelling threatened to make an A on the next test a fantasy. A month ago, I felt like I knew him. After a few years out in the world he seemed more like a real person — someone I could know — even though the book was written 80 years ago. There are so many things that we don't have in common, like the fact that he's a bond salesman and friends with a millionaire in the 1920s. But his struggles are more understandable.
I chose the book because I wanted to reread some of the classics I either skimmed through in school or never got a chance to read because I wasn’t in the mood to sit in an armchair with a book. This particular book had the added benefit of telling a story about an economic period during which many had engaged in excesses beyond their means and later paid the price for them. Although I'm no economist, as the days go by, the roaring ’20s seem more and more like the middle of this decade. Let's hope the fall we are experiencing now isn't as hard as the one they experienced then.
Next on my reading list are both of Obama's books before I get back on track with my after-school education. My reading list is a tour of American authors from the 20th century. I plan to read Keroac, Hemingway and Vonnegut. But I also want to take some detours. Hunter S. Thompson seems like a good stop along the way. Anyone who arranges to shoot their ashes from a cannon after they die deserves my attention.