This summer is the summer of “Me.” The summer where I will consciously do more things that make me happy. Yes, that selfless mother thing was all an act. Now that my kids are old enough to feed themselves—and there’s Kraft Dinner in the cupboard—they are on their own.
One top thing on the “Me” list is reading. Now, this reading thing isn’t new. It’s just for the past, what seems like million years, I have been reading…textbooks. This painful phenomenon happens when you go back to school, which I did part-time, in order to finish my degree. This started on the “to-do” list and as the years crept by, ended up on the bucket list. But I did it. Finished, ended, concluded, terminated, expired, done!
So this year, I vowed I would not read anything that started with “The Theory of…” In order to clear off some much needed bookshelf space I packed up many of my textbooks ready to sell. As part of my degree, I took a bunch of humanities courses (mainly because they fit into my schedule), which included such gripping course titles as “Deviance and Control” or “Death and Suffering.” My stack of textbooks includes, Black Sun: Depression and Melancholia by Julia Kristeva (this one I’ve listed on the used bookstore website as “like new!” since I’ve barely cracked the spine), or Kierkegaard’s The Sickness Unto Death, which a good friend of mine described as “reading this book IS the sickness unto death!”
This summer I dusted off my library card and went online to order away. (We have a very small library in our neighbourhood, so most of the times the pickings can be a little slim.) I wanted something light. I ordered a bunch of biographies, an audio book and one that I thought would be a hoot… The Donut: A Canadian History. Surprisingly, the donut book was not in high demand, so it arrived right away. Now that I have gotten through the first few chapters, I’m realizing it’s not funny. How could anyone write a book about donuts that wasn’t funny?
It was written by an academic who did his thesis on…the donut. That’s funny in and of itself. The nice thing is that he included a lot of the statistical charts and graphs such as, Grease Absorption by Frying Temperature or Donut Consumption by Province from 1951 – 1961 (Ontario and Alberta leading the way, in case you were wondering). At least the charts and graphs take up lots of space including the 50 pages of reference notes, so hopefully I’ll be finished this statistical marvel by December and will be able to regale people with my donut knowledge at the raft of holiday parties I will no doubt attend. (And I wonder why I don’t get asked back a second time.) Truly, I give the author full credit to devoting 200+ pages of research and writing on the donut.
Now, The Donut: A Canadian History is a title that is fairly easy to remember. But often once I’ve read the book, that whole title/author thing just flies out of my brain. I’ll be having a conversation with someone and remember I read a great book, but then can’t remember who wrote it or what it was called. So now I write it down (thank heavens for the Notes section on my iPhone). Sadly, I also need to write down the books I want to read. I’ll see them in a review or a write up on Amazon or Indigo and think, “that looks interesting” and then get to the library and won’t be able to remember what it was called. Librarians are not helpful when you say, “I saw a really interesting book that had a yellow cover; do you have that one?”
I only seem to remember critical things like my kids’ medical appointments, client due dates or making dinner (although not always that last one), but once the event is past it’s filed in the “trash bin” in my brain which equates into the “vague recollection” category. Now one might think that this lack of memory is in direct correlation to my increasing age, however, I have another theory. I believe that at this stage of my life I have achieved such a vast wealth of knowledge that there is just no more room for anything else. My brain is full.
My mantra for the day is: Write it down. Write it down. Write it down.