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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Being Out of Touch

The last few days we've had spotty Internet service. And even cell service has been less than 100% on the island. So I've been a bit out of touch. I have had a few interesting adventures. More about those in another post soon.

But for now I have to comment on the virtues of being "out of touch".  Maybe something we should all try once in awhile. More time to snooze, walk, breathe and otherwise slow down the hectic pace of our lives. And read.

Before I was out of  touch I had asked for suggestions from Facebook friends on which Hemingway book I should read after finishing "The Paris Wife", a selection of my book club that is the fictionalized account of the life of Hemingway's wife while they were living in Paris.

Of Hemingway's books I previously have read only "The Old Man and the Sea".  I read it one summer when I was trying to convince our younger son, a less than enthusiastic reader at the time, to pick and read a book. He liked it so much I read it too. And I found I loved Hemingway's elegant and simple writing style as well as his elegant development of symbolism and characters. I also have read some of Hemingway's short stories while taking writing classes at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. I don't know how I managed to avoid other Hemingway books. Maybe because I was a poli-sci major in college. And in law school and my career thereafter I was inundated with other, purpose-filled reading.

In fact, one former work colleague and Facebook friend joked in response to  my question about which Hemingway I should read that he thought I would have had more than enough reading what with all the reading I did for years while working.

And in some ways he should be right. If nothing else you would think after reading legal opinions and cases, contracts, deeds and leases, not to mention investigation reports and depositions, my eyes and my brain would be tired and in need of the rest.

But the fact is that reading brings me enjoyment. And in some ways it doesn't even matter what I am reading. I am reasonably sure my brain releases dopamine or some pleasure-inducing hormone, enzyme or what-not as my mind converts words on a page, or even an electronic device, into mental images. If I don't have reading material at breakfast I tend to compulsively read the back of the cereal box. And that's a family trait. My mother did the same thing. I suspect there is something hidden in my family DNA that rewards reading. My husband and our younger son, more like his father in this respect, only get enjoyment from the reading when it's something well written.

Luckily, Hemingway qualifies on all counts. And I appreciate all the suggestions from my Facebook buddies on suggested books. So which Hemingway will I read next? I'm not sure. But my Kindle connection has been working seamlessly and I have downloaded a slew of Hemingway's books. I'm now set if the Internet and cell connections go out.  I can read away to my heart's content. Let's just hope the electricity does not go out. Or perhaps I need a solar charger just to be on the safe side since book stores on the island are few and far between.

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