Saturday, February 2, 2008

A stretch

A new semester is upon us (or upon me, at least). It's time to get back to writing assignments and papers. It's time to start reading long non-fiction articles and book excerpts again. It's time for all the books I read or meant to read during winter break to go back on the shelf. It's time to focus more on school work than on blogging (you can from the fact that I posted daily this past week how well I'm sticking to that).

Sometimes, the required reading I do for graduate school surprises me.

Right now I'm reading a book for a class assignment that I never would have picked up otherwise. It's called Personal History and it's the autobiography of Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham. It's almost 700 hundred pages long. The type face is tiny. It's a complete departure from all the genres I usually read.

And I can't put it down.

It's mesmerizing, absorbing and fascinating. Why? Maybe because the writing is excellent (it won the 1998 Pulitzer prize for biography). Maybe because I've subscribed to the Washington Post for as long as I can remember and I love hearing about the newspaper's history. Maybe because Graham is an intriguing person. Maybe because I can't wait to find out what happens next (even though I knew the basic story of her life before I picked up the book).

Or maybe because it's such a stretch for me. It's almost liberating in some ways to read something so different. I'd like to read outside my comfort zone more... because when I do, I invariably discover fascinating books. But of course, that and all my other resolutions will have to wait until the end of the semester.

If you'll excuse me, I have to go find out what happens to Katherine Graham next.

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