We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Is it really the books you read she judges you on or the ones you can chatter on about?
A young woman from another school wrote me this about her boyfriend at Yale:
Before he started college, he spent most of his time reading and writing short stories. Three years later, he’s painfully insecure, worrying about things my public-educated friends don’t give a second thought to, like the stigma of eating lunch alone and whether he’s “networking” enough. No one but me knows he fakes being well-read by thumbing through the first and last chapters of any book he hears about and obsessively devouring reviews in lieu of the real thing. He does this not because he’s incurious, but because there’s a bigger social reward for being able to talk about books than for actually reading them.
I had an advanced case of bibliomania for years, such that I remembered and regretted the three books that strayed from the fold (a pilot's manual lent and never returned, David Landes' Prometheus Unbound sold for cash, and a Marx-Lenin Reader sold for trainfare -- well, that one I didn't really miss).
I labored under the illusion that to buy a book was to understand it, and worse, to read it was to understand reality. Hundreds of unread books later I'm stupider than ever.
There are now a few I return to often. I tend to read them slowly. The rest I'm beginning to give away.
But if I happen to be near Southport on Friday....