Monday, December 16, 2013

The Curse of the Newsprint

Next to my reading chair in the house we moved out of over five years ago. This has to be the biggest the pile ever got!

The Visible Woman...reeds.

I want to be well-read and informed. When I retired (11 years ago), I wanted to learn new things. I wanted to keep up with the news and learn about news I simply missed while worrying about work and school for over three decades.

We take three newspapers. We take several magazines including the word-rich weekly The New Yorker. We buy books. We give each other books.

I read rather slowly and when I'm interested in an article or book I like to savor it until the end. I discovered years ago that FFP reads about four times faster than I do. We were propped up in bed reading. I looked over at his book and started reading along only to see the page turn when I was halfway down the left-hand side.

We have shelves for books to pile up on. I don't care about most of the magazines and while The New Yorker issues multiply we can usually get rid of a lot of them, knowing that the articles are on the electronic edition.

But I have trouble controlling the newspapers. Even since I retired. (I was, in fact, retired when that picture was taken above. Note the paper sack filled with papers? I was preparing the discarded ones for recycling.)

Some sections I throw away straightaway without reading a word. Mostly sports. Business sections if they are a day or two old and a headline on the front doesn't grab me by the throat.

But certain sections can take me down the rabbit hole for hours. The Arts section of The New York Times. Not only will a couple of articles about plays, movies, dance and visual arts intrigue me, but there are puzzles. The puzzles are like candy or crack. I can't resist them.

One wonders why I don't just read or reference all this online. But there is nothing like holding the day's offering in your hands, all of it right there. And doing the puzzles on paper, doodling in the margins. I still get irritated at continued articles (especially to other sections!) but I love the format. I love the predictability of where the news and features are placed on certain days of the week. That there are food sections on Wednesday and Science in The New York Times on Tuesday and a crossword I like in The Wall Street Journal on Friday.

I bid you a good Monday morning now. I have a (relatively thin as is appropriate for Monday) stack of papers and my first cup of coffee to deal with. And I always wake up thinking "the Times puzzles will be a pleasant cakewalk and the crossword will have a theme, possibly a clever one ." (They become progressively and devilishly harder through Saturday.)

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