Promiscuous Reading: Why Theodor Adorno Kept My Attention

Over lunch about a month ago, a friend asked me if I had read any good books recently. After some vacillation, I settled into an eager endorsement of Ben Lerner’s novel “Leaving the Atocha Station.” My friend accepted the recommendation and told me that he would seek out a copy. “I’d loan you mine,” I said, “but I haven’t finished it yet. I actually sort of stopped reading it a few weeks ago, about two-thirds of the way through. I should probably get back to it.” My friend narrowed his eyes, sighting me skeptically down the barrel of his burrito. He didn’t get it. If it was such a good book, and such a short one (a hundred and eighty-six pages), why had I abandoned it? An excellent question, maybe even a necessary one, but I didn’t have much of an answer. Abandoning books was just something I did, I told him, and something I was increasingly unable to stop myself from doing. I’ll start a book, get about halfway through it, and then, even if I’m enjoying it, put it down in favor of something else. My friend just shook his head sadly, perhaps a little dismissively, and resettled his attention on his burrito.

Read the rest at The New Yorker 

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