I think it was Joe Queenan who said that you can either read book or buy them and Joseph Epstein who said that you can either write books or read them. Like all generalities, these find plenty collaborating instances*.
I’ve just finished zooming through Patterson’s Brown v. Board of Education: A Civil Rights Milestone and Its Troubled Legacy**, but this was a make-up, guilt-inducing effort. I bought Brown with bunches of other books in my two-week binge. I didn’t read Brown or anything other books since I read . . . well, I can’t even remember what weeks ago***.
Oh sure, I’ve read the bunches of cases I needed for my 25-page paper, which I’ve written. I’ve made what seems like an innumerable number of presentations and given them. I’ve perused the New York Times, the LA Times, and NPR book lists. I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time looking for books to buy and bought them. I’ve listened to scattered passages of T.J. Stiles’s The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt and fallen asleep to it. I’ve devoted some time to my blog and manged to write a few posts. I’ve read the last few issues of The Economist, which I’ve recently re-subscribed to, cover-to-cover. So I’ve read, and written, and bought books.
But as of three days ago, I’ve been in a book-reading drought. I haven’t read a single book, and unlike the usual in-between-books stage, I haven’t made the effort to engage with a book. I’ve been . . . not reading. Does this regular, but mysteriously occurring, rhythm happen to you as well?
*: And as many defeating counterexamples.
**: Not a book I’d recommend.