Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Book Club, Nerds!

Have you all finished Freedom yet?

I do need to discuss this with you. I found the beginning of the novel thrilling; the second half less so, as it collapsed somewhat under the weight of unspeakable melancholy. (Sounds like a page-turner, eh?) It is well worth reading, however, for the commentary on our society alone.

I was very intrigued to see author Jonathan Franzen on Oprah yesterday, as I was much more interested in what he had to say than the piece that preceded him. (Michael Jackson spent time hiding out with a New Jersey family? Snoozefest.)

I can't wait to dig into the after-show, book club Q&A here, but Franzen did say something on the actual program that struck me. When O asked about his creative process, he said he went to a quiet, dark, cold office. In this hole he has no phone or Internet access, and he just allows himself to be. He tuned out the noise, and allowed himself time with his thoughts, and eventually - over a nine-year span - the great American novel was born.

Watching the clip, I exhaled.

Would be very nice to tune out the noise, indeed.

Nursing Hendrik these past six months, I find myself isolated quite a bit. I've always got my phone by my side, and I am obsessively checking Facebook and The Huffington Post, for lack of anything better to do. I notice - quite alarmingly - that I've almost no attention span of late. I can't even get through a twenty-two minute sitcom on our DVR without attempting to do three things at once (browse status updates, play Uno, etc.).

I know I'm not alone. We are a culture obsessed with snippets of information (*shakes fist angrily at Twitter*) that we devour like candy. Music, movies, popular media, entertainment news shows: they've all got an incredibly short shelf-life. And yet, I am paralyzed with fear that I might be left behind. That I might learn about something too late; how very different my life would have been, had I not learned of the Tony Parker/Eva Longoria "sexting" scandal the moment it broke!

Do I need to tell you where I'm going with this? This New Year's? I'm checking out, to check back in, ya dig? I'm going to strive to be more present in my own life, and not worry about what's going on in yours. Did you know that I dream in status updates? True story: a few weeks ago, I had a dream that I was on a non-stop flight to Paris when the plane had to take a detour to Mozambique. I got to swim in a crystal blue ocean with giant sea turtles (why sea turtles?) and all I could think about - in my DREAM - was how I would word the status update. And think of the comments that would roll in!

Er, I think we can all agree: it's time for me to unplug a bit.

That said, O chose her next book club selection yesterday, and how appropriate:


Like Oprah, I've never read Dickens. I am such a shitty intellectual, y'all. So this holiday season, I'll be curling up with some hot tea and some old school Chuck. (And continuing to blog my adventures, kids. This is a Facebook, other Internet-y things-specific boycott.)

Homevalley: out.


SarahK said...

Here, here. If I could only find a good book to read...

In This Style said...

I like Bleak House and Our Mutual Friend when it comes to Dickens. I've seen Great Expectations & I own it, but I've yet to crack its spine!

Homevalley said...

Let's do this, ladies! OK, I had no idea there was an actual book club to this Oprah thing (REALLY late to this party) along with a reading schedule. Looks like Chapters 1 - 9 of A Tale of Two Cities needs to be read by 12/17. Nothing I like more than a deadline. Anyone game?

Anonymous said...

And here I was, thinking I was suffering from some sudden onset of adult ADD. But apparently, it's less FB and not Ritalin that I need? Thanks Dr. Homevalley!

A reason to read Dickens sounds divine. Now, if only I could fine a reason to get past the first several chapters of War and Peace, and all will be perfect in the world.

-Anon :)

Koos said...

I wasn't on fb in Disney and since we've been back, I haven't been on much. And I LIKE it. Of course, I still check in during my free time. Somebody I went to Pre-K with could have had a baby or got married and I can't miss it.
Let me know how Dickens is. I may check it out after I get through my list.