Wednesday, October 26, 2011

In Which, What the Hell, I Just Cut the Thing In Half

It's a peasant's mentality that everything is scarce. If you serve yourself the food, or, if someone else serves you the food, therefore, you have to clean your plate. Even if it's broccoli and you loathe it, even if it's icecream and you are overweight. So if you paid money, hard-earned money, for a book, you have to read that book, to the end... even if it's a load of boring crap.

Well, the reality is, most of us (that means me and y'all blog readers) live in a world wherein-- even if we are not aristocrats or millionaires or anything like that--- if we eat or do not eat that last bit of soggy broccoli it really does not matter to the healthful balance of the planet and in fact, eating anything one doesn't want, no matter what it is, what it cost, or where came from, is a kind of violence against the self. I am sure we can all relate to not eating the icrecream (better in the sink dispoal than on your hips, right?) And moreso for reading material. Even if it cost $60, if it's really not in any worth the bother to read it to the end, why devalue my time? My time is the most precious thing I have. Your time is the most precious thing you have. Every single second has an opportunity cost. So why throw your precious time after money poorly spent? Sunk costs are sunk. Leave that boring crappy book on a bench, and go read a better book. Because, oh, there are far, far more fabulous, wise, beautiful books than anyone can read in a lifetime.

At this juncture I'd like to slip in an elegantly witty little quote by Gabriel Zaid, from his book, So Many Books. But I have so many books, I can't remember where I shelved it.

Anyway, that's my attitude towards books-- all books. Will I put War and Peace down and go read something else? I doubt it. Too many people I respect have raved about it. There must be something to it...

But back to that peasant mentality, which, when it comes to diet and reading material management, can be such a very damaging thing.

A book is more than a material object. It's an idea-- a thoughtform-- in a package. So, having decided it's important to me now to read War and Peace, that is, to digest / comprehend this thoughtform, and I travel a lot and I refuse to travel with this ridiculously gigantic and heavy material object (and see the previous post about why an e-book doesn't work for me), I got out the kitchen scissors and cut the book in half. Yeah! I then mailed the second half to where I will be spending Thanksgiving-- so I can arrive, having read the first half, to get started asap on that second half.

This makes me feel tewwibly aristocratic.


  1. I thought this post was brilliant. The whole peasant's mentality towards life bit... guilty, guilty, guilty. I think I'll remind myself of what you wrote each time I catch myself at it so I can have a laugh at myself and let it go.

    Good for you for cutting your book in half! I confess that's tempting. This is my first reading of War and Peace and the weight and bulk of it definitely makes reading it uncomfortable sometimes. On the other hand, think of all the calories I'm burning while wrestling it. ;-)

    Once again, I really enjoyed your post.