Today someone asked me what I am currently reading. Well, I like to try to have both a fiction and a nonfiction book going at the same time. [Especially if the fiction book I am reading is trash. (Oh gosh, did I really read the first Twilight book? Followed quickly by each of the others? And did Bella REALLY voluntarily become a vampire? I mean, SERIOUSLY? HELLO! With no consideration as to whether she would continue to have a soul?!) The reason I like a nonfiction book at the same time I am reading a trashy fiction one is simple, and in my opinion brilliant: I then have the nonfiction book ready to read on the elliptical machine at the gym, so that people on each side of me will think I’m smart, not someone who would read love stories about vampires, for heaven’s sake. However, if I’m not currently reading a nonfiction book, and need to workout, I just take the Bible to the gym, a really big one with the words of Jesus in red letters.]
Back to the topic at hand. The older I get, the more confused I am about the categories of fiction and nonfiction. I used to think, let’s say, that U.S. history was nonfiction. Right? All objective-y and such. But really, doesn’t it depend on the history tellers, and their perspectives? More often than not, those tellers of history are men, thus history/HISstory. And maybe it’s because I raised two daughters, but I think women surely must have had something to do with U.S. history. Surely there’s also such a thing as herstory/HERstory.
Here (finally, whew) is what I am currently reading:
First, the Steve Job’s biography by Walter Isaacson (who, by the way, will be at the upcoming Savannah Book Festival). I’m only about a hundred pages in so far (I thought Harry Potter was heavy!), but the book really is fascinating. Not to gossip too much, but it seems that in the early 70’s, when he started working for Atari, Jobs was, according to one source quoted by Isaacson, a “hippie with b.o.” who believed his fruit-heavy vegetarian diet would prevent both mucus and body odor, even without deodorant and showering. For some reason, that tidbit of info makes me respect Jobs and his staunch individuality even more. (Also it makes me feel a little proud of my older daughter Amy who stopped shaving her legs one summer when she went to study abroad in Italy. She also, Steve Job-ishly, stopped using deodorant and went to antiperspirants only–or maybe it was the other way around. I never understood the difference.) I’ll let you know when I get to the parts of the book about Macs and Ipods and such.
The second book, Live What You Love: Notes from a Passionate Life, by Bob and Melinda Blanchard, is a beautifully encouraging examination of how one couple decided to do what they really wanted to do in their lives, from moving to Anguilla and opening up a restaurant to appearing on NBC’s Today show in a wedding cake contest. I love this Blanchard statement: “Take chances for the things you care about.”
Finally, I’m reading (okay, I read; it takes less than ten minutes) Edward Monkton’s little The Pig of Happiness. It’s the tale of a pig who decides to become an extraordinary pig: “I shall see the best in EVERYONE and EVERYTHING.” I’m actually considering using it as a textbook. Read it! (At the checkout line at Barnes and Noble if you don’t want to buy it.)
I adore a good read.
P.S. I just hope that somebody doesn’t start writing phenomenonally bestselling stories about pig vampires (with souls!) who are living their love and communicating via cutting edge IPigPhones.
P.S.S. Listen, forget that first P.S. AND DON’T STEAL THAT IDEA FROM ME.