July 22, 2008

Reading Seasons?

An old TIME magazine discusses reading habits:

Naturally, there are still many constant readers who follow the same schedule all year round, and they seem somehow surprised to discover that everybody's habits are not the same. Says Novelist Peter De Vries, who is on many a vacation book list himself: "I'm always amazed at lists of summer reading. Mine is the same as fall, winter, spring—it doesn't shift gears, throttle down, rev up, or anything."

Such grandiose lists prompted the Saturday Review several years ago to discontinue polling writers on their reading. Many authors reacted as if they were being given an intelligence test. As Saturday Review Editor Norman Cousins remarked: "A man knows even less about his reading habits than he does about his sex habits."
That last line certainly gives me pause, but regardless my summer reading seems similar to my winter reading which seems similar to my fall and spring reading. In other words, I'm rather unCatholic when it comes to my reading habits, although Lenten reading is always different because I spend much more time in spiritual reading.

Eve Tushnet recently blogged:
Both NFP and (unless I'm an internet-educated moron!) the Jewish laws of sexual behavior create a sort of rhythm of times of sexual fast and times of sexual feast. E.g. it's a mitzvah to have sex with your wife at certain times. Time is sacralized in the marital act.

And so I wondered--can anything this side of the grave be sacred without some rhythm, without some time-boundaries, some liturgical season? Is liturgy, and its inherent musical shifting between sound and silence, necessary in order for us to apprehend some hint of eternity? This seems like the sort of paradox God always goes in for, where marriage prepares us for the place where there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage....

No comments: