Sunday, June 23, 2013

'This Is How' ...

I have become so accustomed to reading so much on my laptop that the experience of reading a book has started to feel a bit strange. Which worries me. So I've been making a conscious effort to sit, with a book, laptop closed, and read. Some days, it is a struggle.

But yesterday, I flopped across my bed, under the breeze of my ceiling fan, my head positioned near a window, and read until the light had faded so much that I had to admit that it was time to turn on a lamp.

I rarely read so earnestly anymore.

But This Is How drew me in. Indeed, it gets more compelling by the page.

When I first learned of it – thank you, Patti – I thought I might just skip over some of the sections. I have no need for advice on how to quit drinking, for example.

But I was so taken with Burroughs's words that I wanted to read every one of them, and besides, I figured, it surely couldn't hurt to understand, in some way, what alcoholics might be going through as they try to give up drinking. We could all stand to add more compassion to our coping arsenals.

And while I don't want to divulge specific passages in the book because I want readers to discover his words for themselves and take away from those words what is most meaningful to them, I will mention that I laughed out loud, I cried, and I sat and stared at one particular phrase which was put so perfectly and so simply that for a moment, I was too awed to move on.

I can think of only two other instances in my life – no, three – when I have been stopped in my tracks by a phrase or sentence so perfect that I just stare at it for a while, admiring the author and wondering how he or she managed to combine words in a way that is so exquisite and so rare.

As I tweeted last night, I encourage folks to be curious beyond the subtitle. This is not a self-help book in the vein of self-help books that have earned self-help books a sad and sappy stigma.

Rather, it strips away the superficiality and it's-not-your-fault-ness of so many books and talks and presents ideas that are strikingly simple if not necessarily easy to employ.

I found myself nodding my head in agreement a lot.

I borrowed this book from the library, as I wanted to read it but not buy it given that I've recently purged so many books from my shelves and acknowledged that no, I do not read most books again.

But this book is worth the purchase. I can see myself reading sections from time to time to reinforce his ideas, to remind myself to not get mired in the muck of the past.

I heartily recommend it.

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