I want to be a reader.

After several failed attempts (including a rather public fail you can find here) I began searching for strategies to trick my brain into making reading fun, rather than seeming like homework. I stumbled upon a blog post that broke reading down to a simple 10% rule: read 10% of a book per day effectively breaking up an otherwise daunting task into tangible bite size pieces.

Pretty easy right? Not only that, but jotting down some quick thoughts about what you read after you’re done has a way of boosting recollection of books long after you’re done reading them. No more, “Yeah I read The Catcher In The Rye…what’s it about again?”

So I started in on this method and I couldn’t stop. I’ve actually found myself reading quite a bit more than 10% each day. What I’ve found even more amusing is the things I come up with on paper after I’m done. I’ve decided to post a few excerpts from my ‘writing journal’ for your entertainment. Please excuse the more profane bits (thanks Chuck Palahniuk).

Dandelion Wine – by Ray Bradbury

“It’s becoming increasingly clear that this is a book about life and death – the juxtaposition of old and young, wise and naive, storied and…un-storied. The narrative turns sharply from the perspective of a dying woman to the supple joy of children in summertime. Oftentimes the children (Douglas, Tom and Charlie) attempt to contemplate life and why things break and why people die. The old always seem to have achieved peace in death. There was a life lived and a grand life lived at that.

Compare this to poor Lavinia, who spent a night in terror, seeing abrupt death up close. She wasn’t ready to go, and Bradbury does an excellent job at explaining the fear that comes when you’re not ready for death. At first it wasn’t entirely clear why this section of the book was included. It seems no more out of place in its style or prose, but to weave a serial killer into a novel like this was an odd choice. However, being a book that approaches all aspects of life, it was important for Bradbury to include the dark with the light. Not to mention the opportunity to show young kids making fun of such a terrible event, as young kids will tend to do. I wonder if this is what the Black Keys song ‘Lonely Boy’ is about? Doubt it.”

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – by Robert M. Pirsig

“Quality. This is the concept on the mind of young Phaedrus as our protagonist and his young son, Chris, traverse up and around a Montana mountainside in the dead of their Chautauqua. Quality, he states, is something that cannot be properly defined, but must be real because we all know it to be so. I’ll skip the philosophical mind trip he takes us through (one that includes bulls horns and the great mind-matter debate) and get to the jist of the argument, which is that quality is the event that happens between the subject and the object. Quality does not exist in one or the other, but straddles the two as the great third wheel in the classic vs romantic question.

I’d be lying if I completely follow this book 100% of the time. However, there are often thought provoking questions that are asked and even the occasional light bulb moment where seeds of wisdom are planted into the mind of the reader (well, this reader anyway). The analogy of the mountain comes to mind. Chris represents the ego-centric approach to the climb, where the only value in reaching the top is just that, reaching the top. It’s an instant gratification that prompts a pat-on-the-back and a cookie. There was no real joy in the climb itself, only a focus on the end of the road. This, the author explains, is a dangerous mentality and almost always ends in disaster.”

Ulysses – by James Joice

“WTF? I’m not sure I’ll be able to make it through this one. I find it hard connecting with writers who meander through information with over-complications and under-explanations. There appears to be substance hiding under this pillow of pompous fluff, but I’m not seeing it.
Perhaps I should give it more than 5 pages…and read it when I’m not delirious and tired…maybe…”

Choke – by Chuck Palahniuk

“Our friend Mr. Mancini appears to be afraid of only one thing: being a good-hearted, upstanding member of society. “What would Jesus not do.” He repeats this to himself over and over again as he fake-rapes, steals slug-trap beer and poison children’s ears with stories about soot-warts and how children in the 1700’s died of cancer. He is so afraid of being a good person that he forces himself to be a shit-head out of pure spite for the good-natured little boy inside of him. The little boy who was cheated out of his childhood by a deranged parental figure who actually thought he was the second coming of Christ.

Chuck was right, I do hate this character. In fact, I kind of hate this book. It’s well-written, of course, but seems to give unnecessary insights into the scarcely found dark side of the human condition. It makes for good entertainment, but I’ve in no way been able to relate to the broken, anarchistic nature of our main character and anyone he seems to come into contact with. Even the doctor who is trying to save his mother is actually a self-conscious nymphomaniac who agrees to get fucked on the alter of the hospital church as long as he ‘fucks her fast’ so as to sync up to her heartbeat (which she is obviously listening to through her stethoscope).
Again, it is an entertaining read so I shouldn’t say I hate the book. I just feel like I need a good scrub down after plowing through 50 pages of stream-of-conscious ramblings of a functioning psychopath. I’ll try to finish this and move on to something a bit less…palette heavy.”
. . . . . . . .
I feel like that’s a pretty good note to end on, right? I hope you enjoyed these little rants. They probably reveal more about my own story than the one’s found between the pages. That’s a tale for another day…
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Peter Secan

Peter Secan

Peter is an architectural designer, freelance writer, and creator of The Self Aware Man. He wants to use this blog to share his thoughts and experiences, and much of his power is derived from the baldness of his head. He currently freelances for several blogs, including BusyBoo, Easy Render and Games Like Zone.

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