Not Fade Away

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I'm getting a late start on today's blog entry because I had some very important things to take care of tonight. And by that I, of course, mean that I was watching the 18 Kids and Counting special. I can't turn away from The Duggars, not even to be a responsible blogger. So, I'm sorry dear readers, I promise that from now on I'm going to get my priorities in line better: blog, then the Duggars, then trivial things like food, air and sleep.

Today's book, "I'm hardly the first person to notice that there is only the present, constantly," writes Barton in this extraordinary memoir. "The present moment is lived, and relieved; written, and rewritten. Every previous version still inhabits it." What gives this insight and the many others that follow uncommon power is the ever present fact that Barton, a pioneering entrepreneur in the cable television industry, was dying of stomach cancer as he wrote them. Alternating chapters with mystery writer Shames (The Naked Detective), Barton, who died in September, 2002, at 51, offers us-and his wife and three children-his final rewrite of a life filled with the optimism and idealism of his generation. Barton tells us how it feels to die while the party is still raging, offering us glimpses of a life that packed in everything from being a professional ski bum to working as an aide to New York State governor Hugh Carey to huge success as a visionary businessman (Barton helped found MTV, among other achievements). Readers will be knocked out by his honesty and his utter lack of self-pity or sentimentality."

Shallow thoughts:

  • Today's book has been in my to-read stack for awhile. It is yet another book that I don't remember buying, and am somewhat shocked to even find in my to-read stacks since I'm normally don't like to read sad books. I prefer to stick to light, fluffy, happy books that don't make me think about death, illness, or anything unpleasant. In other words, I'm a literary wimp. But ever so often, I feel like I need to take a step outside of that happy, pleasant box and read something that isn't all sunshine and rainbows.

  • I was a little bit nervous about today's book, because I feared it would be like Tuesdays With Morrie, a book that I attempted to read and desperately wanted to like because it came so highly recommended by several people. But I couldn't make it past the fourth page. I decided to go ahead and risk it with today's book, and I'm so glad that I did because it was much better than Tuesdays With Morrie. I always find it gratifying to read a good book on a similar subject from one I disliked - it some weird way it kind of wipes the memory of the bad book away. I frequently do this with books, a book with substances erases a trashy, mindless book, a book that's good erases a bad ones. I like to pretend like everything in life evens out in the end, even if it doesn't.

  • And now it's time for my extra shallow thought of the day: I can't stand the word chuckle. At one point during the book the word was used and I found it horribly distracting. There's just nothing pleasant sounding about that word, and so it goes on the list of words I don't like along with lady, purse, moist, and hubby (which isn't technically a word, but that certainly doesn't stop people from using it waaaaay too much.)