Next up on Obama’s Reading Habits Have Shamed Me

A recent New York Time’s article about Obama’s reading habits shocked me into reading more. I just finished Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, about his effort to walk the entire Appalachian Trail. Somehow, even though he is very honest about how hard it is, and in many ways not at all fun, he makes you want to give it a try. Except I mostly want to try it with him and his friend Katz. Loved Katz.

I had a long meditation about humor after cracking up over this one little bit: “a big knife for killing bears and hillbillies …” What is funny about that? Nothing. But he managed to very quickly get me inside his head so that by the time I read those words I was dying.

Next up: Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets by Luke Dittrich. Thank you, Citizen Reader. It’s about Henry Molaison, an epileptic who was given a lobotomy to cure his seizures, which instead left him unable to create long-term memories. I’m only a few chapters in, but the author’s grandfather is the one who conducted the surgery. Something about that fact is making this a lot more interesting, not that it isn’t a fascinating story without that layer. Can’t explain it yet, but I’m in.

A glimpse of one tiny piece of the march of over a half a million people. There was a wonderfully wide range in age, but I would have also liked to see an equal range in race.

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

6 thoughts on “Next up on Obama’s Reading Habits Have Shamed Me

  1. Stacy!
    Oh, I so hope “Patient H.M.” is a good read for you. I didn’t think it was a perfect book, but I did think it was a thoughtful one (on many levels), and I always forgive a lot of nonfiction if I can just see the work the author has put in.

    LOVED “A Walk in the Woods,” although I am not really a huge Bryson fan. Also loved Katz. If you’re ever looking for a classic travel read you might try “Kingdom by the Sea” by Paul Theroux; something about it reminded me of Bryson:

  2. Tory paper!! I laugh every time.
    You know, I’ve read a ton of nonfiction, and I think only this one book by Paul Theroux. Did he also write the novel The Mosquito Coast? For a big author he slips under the radar–I’d say it’s entirely possible you’ve not read anything by him.

  3. I guess Bryson was referring to the scene in the movie “Deliverance”? I thought it a funny comment. No one could forget that shocking scene in the movie and I loved the dueling banjos.

  4. You are absolutely right. It followed a riff about the danger of bears and hillbillies like the ones in Deliverance! It’s really funny in context.

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