Friday, November 03, 2006

Why I've stopped Reading

Don't get me wrong, I still read, but my reading habits have changed considerably this year. From the time I sold my business (2001) until last year (2005 for those that might not know) I used to crunch about 10 books a month. Hardcore non-fiction. Quantum physics. Postmodern existentialism. Along with these delightful reads I would read books (still non-fiction) on whatever latest hobby I was interested in. Motorbikes. Music. Hiking. China...

I should have realised something was amiss in August last year when, attracted for the first time in my life to Classical music, I immediately ordered a couple books about it. Something shoulda shreiked out then: "Listen to the fckn stuff damnit, what the heck is reading about it gonna do???"

And then somewhere, sometime, I read a little story which shook the shit right out of me. it went like this:

One day you're wandering along your path of life and you come upon a Y junction, and need to make a choice. The one spilt has a large sign saying "Paradise this way". The other split has a large sign saying "A book about paradise this way" Which one you gonna take?

Well, I can tell you in all honesty: at that point in my life it wasn't even a question - go read up on it man, you gotta be knowledgable about these things.

And that is how I came to realise that something was VERY wrong. As the zen masters say: "I was eating the menu rather than the meal."

So I've ditched reading books in 2006. I'm proud to say that I've only read one book this year. And I've definitely upped my DOING. It's like you get the READERS and the DOERS, and I've cancelled my esteemed membership to the former.

OK so I still read, but 90% of my reading now takes place online. My RSS feeds, and other clickety diversions. And a couple magazines every month.

Even the magazines, I'm way behind on, but I plan to play catch-up this weekend. We're heading to a cottage up the coast for my sister's 40th Birthday. I'm outta here...


  1. Yet again my life crosses your path. I was in a bookstore yesterday for the first time in 5 years. All books previously bought were through Amazon. For no particular reason I bought Sun Tzu, "The Art of War". Maybe if I understand myself I can fight the enemy within?

  2. oh but there are some wonderful things worth reading. astrophysics you won't pick up on your journeys (unless you know something cool the rest of us don't know). now tv, yeah, that can suck your brain out and toss it away, but books are magic. i would just say choose wisely rather than throw in the towel.( funny, i have been trying to read MORE lately, specifically literature and poetry )

  3. don't you hate it when you gawk at the starry night sky & a friend wants to show off their encyclopedic knowledge of astronomy and starts pointing out names of star configurations and completely misses the point of SIMPLE STARGAZING in the absence of any kind of KNOWING?

    okay then, i'll head out to some restaurant now and order a menu a la carte, see if the waiter gets IT!

  4. I read constantly but its only NON-fiction and for entertainment. For myself I find it much better to get lost in a book than inside my head and besides I dont think I could live without books and dont even care to ever try. I think I would rather lose my legs- literally

  5. "eating the menu rather than eating the meal." - that's a brilliant one that i've never heard.

    i hear what your saying about the difference between being a reader and a doer - i've had the tendency myself to take the safe route with many things. i can't even tell you how many books i've read on things that i've wanted to do but never done. do i regret it? partially..

    hope you enjoyed the cottage!


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