I’ve been reading quite a bit of non-fiction lately. Graduate school is expensive and I can’t decide on what to pursue, so I’m trying to continue my education through the public library system. The beauty of it is that you can study whatever you want to whatever depth you want. One week it may be “How Ireland saved Western Civilization” and the next it may be the memoirs of Thomas Hoving, who was once the Director of the Met. Hoving is constantly referring to ancient kraters from the Mediterranean (think pottery, not volcanoes) or a collection of paintings from the Momoyama period of Japanese paintings. His memoirs make me wish that I hadn’t sold my Art History textbook back to the community college.

Biographies and memoirs have been fascinating me. Some of them are better written than others. You can tell which authors like to inject their prose with literary devices and which ones take a hacksaw at a life and hope intelligent sentences are formed. All of them introduce you to new people. Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s biography was intriguing. Her marriage to the aviator, Charles Lindbergh, awkwardly thrust her into international spotlight. She idolized her husband, not realizing that her worship of him was feeding his god-complex. Anne supported her husband through so many eras – the golden age of aviation when everyone loved them, the kidnapping and murder of their firstborn son, their self-imposed exile to Europe, Charles love for the Nazi’s, his obsession with eugenics, and back to the US where she started her writing career. Anne was an admirable woman but not one whose life you’d want. I don’t know how many women today would be willing to stand by their man through so much.

I’ve also been reading quite a bit of Donald Miller’s memoirs. I don’t know how someone can make a career out of writing memoirs when they are under the age of 40 but he’s done it. I haven’t read all of his works yet but I’m working at it. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years was particularly thought-provoking. The idea of life stories and making your life memorable. Editing your life. Miller asserts that some people are living terrible lives because they don’t know any better. They are living the best story that they know. I agree with that but I also think that there are people who are living terrible stories because they are lazy and don’t want to change. But maybe that’s me being judgmental.


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