One of my goals for 2013 is to read a lot more. I don’t think I actually finished one book in 2012, it’s shameful and had to change. I wonder how many hours I wasted on my commute to work pissing about on facebook when I could have been engaging with something so much more meaningful. Terrible.
So, we’re in to February and I’ve read two books already. One was a Christmas present from M and I’ve already passed in on to a friend.
Lamb is unsettling from the first glance. The front cover’s text immediately lets you in on what’s going on – Tommie is eleven, David Lamb is fifty-four. There’s nothing wrong with that, is there?
The book centres around a lost middle-aged man and the girl he seems to think he is saving. We feel we know from the start where the story is going and we know whose side we should be on when we put the book down but as you’re reading, it is hard to discern who “our guy” really is. We feel pity for him, we understand him. We are drawn in by him just as Tommie is. We hear the story only from his mouth, never entering Tommie’s head. The language is tight and the pacing that of a thriller. The book is full of wonderful descriptions of natural beauty – various American mid-western landscapes and Tommie’s own ‘expensive’ freckles and darling innocent mannerisms and behaviour. The book is enthralling and disturbing, bold and beautiful. This book stayed with me for days, I was left full of questions about the pair. What of Tommie’s future – will the trip have left her stronger and more confident or will there be sad repercussions as she realises what the trip really was?
The second book was something my lovely mama recommended I read, Wait: The Useful Art of Procrastination. (Originally titled The Art and Science of Delay it seems, I think I like that better.) She believes I make decisions too soon. I don’t really. In my own world, I think about something for weeks or months before acting. I’m far from impulsive. I am, however, useless at saying no to anyone, and this my mama knows too well. And then, sometimes I panic a little and gabble. You know the way, you’ve done it too right? I realised as I was reading this book that I do this sometimes in a class, I lose my pace for a second and panic. But it’s not worth it, I need to take a breath, shuffle some papers around and find my spot again. It’s not that hard. I also realised that I sometimes engage in useful procrastination – my Finery project for example. I had that stuff hanging around for months before I even so much as photographed it properly. I tried a few different approaches but it just didn’t work for me. Then one day I guess it had all marinated enough and I was ready to act, to follow it through.
There are some fascinating stories included in the book – studies and anecdotes. I also found myself seeing a little in to the world of economists, stock traders, military strategists and doctors. There is an evaluation of the steps a tennis player takes in returning a serve – the pros do it at the last millisecond. There are also evaluations of apologies – Partnoy gives some examples to illustrate how a delayed apology achieves better results, ie, forgiveness. Fine and well, but a great apology also needs certain levels of remorse and sincerity which may have been overlooked in favour of the delay theory.
Speaking of apologies, Marie Forleo recently made this the topic of her Tuesday video with some pretty useful apologisin’ advice – find it here.
The moral of the entire book is this though – just wait. Don’t do it, if there’s another second, take it; if you have three more days, use them. If someone calls you to ask you to take on a project that you sense will be the bane of your life for the next few weeks, then ask them if you can call them back in a few minutes – don’t say yes and then have to call back an hour later to say that you’ve actually double booked yourself and you can’t do it! Just stand there and do nothing for as long as possible, and when the time is right (which time would that be exactly? er, not sure) then go get ’em.