This month I’m reading Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones for my book club and I’m 67% of the way through. I will finish it and I do recommend it as it explains how the opiate addiction epidemic took hold in America (and gives me some ideas as to why it hasn’t taken root in Europe to date). I bought it on a whim after hearing Marc Maron rave about it as he was introducing an episode of his podcast (called WTF and on iTunes or wtfpod.com) which I listen to regularly. I don’t love every episode as I’m not into some of this older musician rock’n’roll types, but sometimes it is like listening to therapy and I get so much out of it.
This week I listened to a WTF podcast with Geoff Tate and he suggested a book called The Narcissist Next Door by Jeffery Kluger, which I also bought on a whim and downloaded to my kindle. I got it because Geoff said the first two chapters are about Donald Trump even though the book was written six years ago. Once a narcissist always a narcissist, I suppose. I work with a lot of them and have had my personal life damaged by one or two so I thought it would be a good book to read. I may or may not put it forward for book club as we usually read fiction, and given that October’s book is non-fiction having two non-fiction books in succession might be poorly received.
I’ve got 36 books on my kindle now, with a couple of them partially read. I have at least a dozen print books I’ve accumulated in the past six months stacked up on my bedroom dresser. Am I panicking a bit about finding the time to read all of them? In a word, yes. It’s one of the two things you have to make time for: reading and working out (health for your mind and health for your body). It’s a random selection and I don’t know if I’ll read all of them. For example, my partner’s mother gave me a Jojo Moyes book (which I will probably not read), and I’ve got three or four technical books in the stack that my data science colleague has suggested and which remain unread. I should probably alternate a reading for pleasure book with a reading for work book, but I have not implemented that as my reading schedule yet.
I struggle to resist adding new books to the ones I already want to read. I always believe I’ll have time to read them even though the list remains long. Lately I’ve been spending a lot of my train journeys and idle evening time reading the internet rather than these books. I think I’ve just been drawn in to the nightmarish, Orwellian dystopia that the world seems to be slipping into and I alternate between a desire for distraction and a need for further insight. Books (and poetry) would probably do both of those so best drop this bad habit and get on with chipping away at the reading iceberg I’ve built up.
Either way, book club is on October 12th, so I have no excuse to not have Dreamland finished by then.