Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Confessions of a Bibliophile

Hello, my name is Murph, and I am a bibliophile.
I haven’t touched a book for 11 hours, I’m a serial reader, I can’t help myself… I love books… carnally.
That sounds gross, but let me explain.
I LOVE books… yes, for the stories they tell or the information they contain… but I love the book itself, its beauty, and the heft of it in my hands or in my book bag. I love the smell of the pages and the crispness of the binding as I gently open it for the first time if it’s new… or the easy “flop” of a book that has known more than a few readers. I worship the pages as they turn before me revealing their secrets.
But with that being said… I defile books. Yes it’s true, for as it is with almost all English majors, I read with a pen. In the pristine margins, I have the audacity to comment, to codify, to annotate, and horror of horrors… I UNDERLINE!
Oh… the ecstasy!
But I am a true lover, for I will never defile the book of another, and no… I… almost never… borrow from the brothel that is the public library. Oh, to read but not comment in the margins, that, my friends, is Hell.
I am a painfully slow reader. My Wife and Daughter can read 4 books to my one. But I savor the experience and enjoy every page the book has to offer. And I almost never revisit a book. No my friends, once I’ve had my way with a book, it is shelved, only to be looked at and possessed from that day on. I guess you could say that I’m the Humbert Humbert of books, for my desire is to possess utterly and forever. And so I have learned, through painful experience, and the loss of an annotated Zamyatin, (sob) to never loan out one of my precious books… oh, the pain and the loss!
I will never understand those who will read without touching, the users of “Kindle” and other ebook readers, those literary voyeurs. You call me demented, then what are they? They are truly the literary perverts.
I have a library, it is small, but it is mine… all mine… It is my favorite pastime to just sit, among my pretties, and just look… to pull a favorite volume and revisit, a passing gesture to be sure, but to briefly revisit a favorite passage, or bit of prose. To let their smell and music and words wash over me in a flood of memory.And yet I am mad?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Running Playlist

I’ve been looking around for the playlists that professional runners and Olympic champions use to motivate themselves to push forward and to keep running. Well, after reading though lists of Lady Gaga and Black Eyed peas, I came to realize that most of these lists were produced by iTunes and probably only approved by the runners themselves. So, I looked on my mp3 player (I don’t have and iPod) to see what music had a good beat, a good message, and what motivates me to drive on over the miles.
So, for what it’s worth, here is my running playlist:

Mike’s Mid-Life Crisis Ragnar Mix

“I Want You to Want Me” Letters to Cleo
“Call Me” Blondie
“Bigmouth Strikes Again” The Smiths
“Bring Me to Life” Evanescence
“Pour Some Sugar on Me” Def Leppard
“Elegy” Leaves’ Eyes
“No One Lives Forever” Oingo Boingo
“Lover’s Wreck” Gaelic Storm
“Wrapped Around Your Finger” The Police
“Angels Would Fall” Melissa Etheridge
“Sweet Dreams” Eurythmics
“(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” Blue Oyster Cult
“Pleasure and Pain” The Divinyls
“I Wear My Sunglasses at Night” Cory Hart
“Run Baby Run” Garbage
“The Zoo” Scorpions
“Dead Man’s Party” Oingo Boingo
“Rebel Yell” Billy Idol
“Blue Collar Man” Styx
“Point of No Return” Kansas
“The Great Commandment” Camouflage
“Never Again” Kelly Clarkson
“This Love” Maroon 5
“Read My Mind” The Killers
“Boys of Summer” Don Henley
“Hey Ho Away We Go” Freur
“Fly Away” Lenny Kravitz
“Some Kind of Wonderful” Joss Stone
“Girls on Film” Duran Duran
“Little Lies” Fleetwood Mac
“Spaceman” The Killers
“No More Words” Berlin
“Colorful” Rocco Deluca and the Burden
“Jet Airliner” Steve Miller Band
“Mr Roboto” Styx

I know that’s a big list, but I have all of these on my player, and they shuffle through. I’ve noticed that when I need a good solid beat to keep me on pace, “Mr Roboto” or “Dead Man’s Party” will come up and push my forward. Or, if I need to relax my shoulders and just drift “Boys of Summer” or “Wrapped Around your Finger” will start to play.
I have some dead weight in my playlist as well… some songs by The Corrs and Howard Jones that, while I like them, just don’t do well to pace me, and so I need to drop them from the list, but all in all, I think that I have a winner.
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