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Wednesday 5: 5 Things I Would Rather Read About Than Do

June 22, 2011

I love the way a good book draws you into its world, lets you discover its possibilities. Whether fiction or nonfiction, a well-told story gives you a chance, just for a little while, to experience a new world, and learn the lessons it has to offer.

There are a few things I can do vicariously, through books, that I prefer not to do in real life.

1. Watch baseball. I love reading about baseball. Especially nostalgic, coming-of-age sandlot, Brooklyn Dodgers era baseball. I am even happy to read memoir or a good narrative history. But watch a game? No thank you! My friends despair, I know. With enough cajoling, I might go to a minor league game. Maybe. If the food’s good, and it’s somewhere interesting like Coney Island.

2. Pull off A Con. Nerdy physics and math majors head to Vegas to triumph over blackjack. Or pack computers in their shoes to defeat the roulette wheel.  Bending, or breaking laws, and getting away with it on a mix of brains and charm. I love to read a good swindle adventure. But… I’m a bit of a goody goody, and what’s more, a horribly easily flustered liar. I get a guilty conscience from overdue library books. I’m not cut out for a life of flashy deception.

3. Practice medicine. This is one where the book format is key. I’m hideously squeamish about anything hospital related on TV. (I look away from watching Scrubs, just to give you an idea.) But, I do love reading doctors’ memoirs, and I fall asleep to audiobooks of nostalgic country doctors, like James Herriot.

4. Be a woman in any other century. Or, live in any other century, period. I like wearing pants! I like antibiotics, and being able to vote, and not wearing corsets, and living past 35! I love reading about the 19th century and earlier. Great time to visit, but wow, I wouldn’t want to live there!

5. Be a chef. I love reading foodie lit, be it fiction set in a kitchen, or a chef’s memoirs. I think Kitchen Confidential was the first I read. And I’ve found each story fascinating. But… I also know that I couldn’t take the insane long hours, or the fast pace. I have a few friends who do work as chefs, and I admire their dedication as well as their delicious talent, but… yikes!

As much as I couldn’t see myself doing these things in my real life, I have an endless appetite for the books that let me learn more about them. Got any good books to recommend? Or a list of your own 5 things you’d rather read about than do? Drop me a line!


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