And Poof! You get a rant! It’s friendly, don’t worry.

Have you found yourself, say, home for the summer from college? Are you continuing a monotonous job, taking summer classes, enjoying blissful unemployment on the backs of your parent’s bank accounts, starting a new resolution to work out twice a week, or otherwise steadfastly (if not joyously) plummeting on through the days of summer? If you are doing any of these things, and find yourself bored way, way too often, I suggest you try something. It’s a certain something that I’ve found a number of my own college-aged friends gravitating towards, many thinking, “I should really do something to make myself smarter/better/stronger/mindful/slightly more sophisticated.”

“Watch more documentaries?” No, although there are dozens of good ones on Netflix, this is not my proposal.

“Buy an expensive digital SLR camera and proclaim myself a photographer?” Please, for the sake of your wallet, and all of those things that you tried when you were a little kid for like three months before forgetting completely, no.

“Watch less TV?” Well, you’re getting warmer. Definitely watch less TV.

“Buy a fixed gear bicycle and start riding it every day at the exact hours at which I know the hot girl down the street will be arriving home from work?” NO…

“Start wearing loafers and dedicate myself to starting a brand new and totally original tee shirt company?” Gosh…stop, no.

By all means, do whatever you want. Don’t let my blim-blag dissuade you from doing exactly what pleases you…I only encourage you to get up and DO IT, if that is your will.

What I suggest, if you are open to suggestions, and only suggestions at that, is to sit down, preferably alone, in a quiet, comforting place, calm your mind and your jittery little fingers (I promise, they will get back to the computer soon after you’re done) pick up one of those intimidating little objects that they make you buy for school, yes, a book, and READ. Read.

Read for twenty minutes. Read for an hour. Read all fucking day if you can, but start with twenty minutes. Don’t put page or chapter expectations on yourself, just focus on the words. Let yourself fall into the pages and explore the lines as if they were the world in 3D, High Definition all around you. Let yourself become the characters.

Just start with the first page, and even if it doesn’t thrill you, make yourself go on to the next, and the next, and even the one after that. If you can’t read any more than four pages without becoming nauseous, take a break, but do yourself a favor, and make sure it’s only a break.

If you’re pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down, and you wanna see what this reading business is all about, go find a book and take off! If, however you don’t know where to start, and would like some further suggestions, feel free to browse this list, just a few of my favorite books:

A Walk in the Woods– by Bill Bryson


A Walk in the Woods
was the first book that I pronounced as my “favorite.” Obviously a few others joined it along the way, but it will always be the first. It chronicles Bill Bryson’s mid-life-crisis-like journey up the Appalachian Trail, from bottom to top. He is joined by an old friend of his, who is in no way prepared for a 2,100 mile trek through the mountains of eastern North America. Bryson is a hilarious author. I have laughed out loud while reading a number of his books, including A Walk in the Woods. It made me want to step outside my back door, and my boundaries in search of the wilderness. Maybe it will do the same for you. At a brisk 276 pages, it will fly by with ease and pleasure.

 

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey Into the Heart of the American Dream– Hunter S. Thompson

Sweet Jesus! If you’ve been stuck in suburbia for too long and want to escape into the desert, into bat country, and into true drug induced madness matched with a completely human insanity that needs no drug, dive into Fear and Loathing. The product of a journalist’s clumsy and intoxicated journey into Las Vegas in order to cover a dirt bike race, this true, or as true to Hunter Thompson’s memory as possible, story is savagely honest, thrilling, and just plain gonzo! Gonzo Journalism is the only true genre to fit this type of writing in. It’s a trip, so, like any other, you just have to say, “okay” with a smile and see what happens.

 

The Hobbit: There and Back Again– J.R.R. Tolkien

I say “Walk in the Woods” was my first favorite, but really it was my first self proclaimed favorite. My first favorite, not pronounced, but just understood deep inside of me, was The Hobbit, a fantastic epic story filled with every kind of lore element that the anglo-english world could produce.  Not only did Tolkien create an entire a world to use as his setting, but he created hundreds of different races of beings to inhabit that world, and hundreds of different languages for them to speak! And he didn’t just make up jibberish that sounded cool. Tolkien studied language and taught it in English universities, and actually invented entire languages as complex as Latin or mandarin. All of that, and he has one of the coolest names ever! If you’re a cultural nerd and love looking at maps or listening to people from other countries speak, this book is for you. Or, if you’re just looking for a great story and a first-class window into the world of fiction, pick up this book.

 

Alice in Wonderland- Lewis Carroll

Yes, they made a Disney movie out of it. If you’re going to read this book, you need to expel that fact from your head! The best way, if there is any way to digest the story of Alice in the Wonderland, is for it to be read! The pondering, delightful, and innocent nature of Alice, is made fascinating by the very dark realities of life that she ends up having to confront. This book is a classic for its infinite wealth, in wisdom and in form, as in the form of the very fibers, the words! Lewis Carroll was a master craftsman and his insight has benefitted both children and adults for many, many years. If you wish to enjoy yourself completely read Alice in Wonderland.

Ps. I have to include this quote from the book:

“Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

 

Other things that you should read but that I don’t feel like writing reviews for:

Jack Kerouac: On the Road, Visions of Cody, Dharma Bums, all of his poetry (you should read some poetry it’s good for you. Think Robinson Jeffers, or Maya Angelou, or Mary Oliver)
Moby Dick-Herman Melville
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy- Douglas Adams
For all you business majors out there: Confessions of an Economic Hitman- John Perkins
A Stranger in the Kingdom- Howard F. Mosher –more than just assigned reading in high school, I promise.

 

ANDDDD That seems to be it for this stream of consciousness, so go read! It’s fun!

 

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~ by evanlitsios on July 6, 2011.

One Response to “And Poof! You get a rant! It’s friendly, don’t worry.”

  1. You are funny. I quite agree with you about Alice in Wonderland. Imagine if we had seen the Johnny Depp version before reading the book. We might never have cracked it open, might even have called Lewis Carroll a loser. And the Disney version–well, Disney is okay, although when I was a kid, I preferred the Cary Grant version of the film. One of the perks of being older is I wasn’t absolutely saturated in Disney growing up. Tell me if you like the walrus and carpenter doll set I made. At first I wasn’t going to make an Alice, but now I am thinking, why not? Like film renditions, surely there can be more than one?

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