January Reader of the Month – Don M.


A new feature of Jorie’s Reads is Reader of the Month.  So, here is our first guinea pig – Don M.

Around Labor Day Weekend 2005, I began my first course in library school. I remember Donald being there. I also recall the amusing posts he made on the bulletin board.
My clearest memory, though, came from a course we both took at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Spring 2007. Each student presented on accessing Database A through Database B and compared it to an antediluvian one. When Don listed Pros and Cons between accessing Database A through Ebsco and the Relic, he said folks might find Ebsco too easy.
Since 2007, we’ve been friends on Facebook and I’ve looked forward to Don’s commentary on my food photos as well as his profile pics. When I decided to begin “Reader of the Month” interview on Jorie’s Reads, Don’s name was one of first subjects I asked. His immediate response and cooperation was greatly appreciated. So, without further ado . . .

Greetings from Don!

 What’s the best thing you’ve read in the past year?

I’m currently reading Blood Meridian, which has me absolutely mesmerized.  Blood Meridian integrates language and theme as well as any book I’ve ever read.  Also, for a story in which blood and gore are prime constituents, it’s never excessive or gratuitous.  Equally remarkable is that McCarthy puts the lie to the notion that a story needs a sympathetic character – Blood Meridian doesn’t have one. 

 I could go on an extended screed about this book, but I’ll give you the short version:  this books posits, among other things, that mankind will design and implement its own demise.  We don’t need to worry about something like global warming – we’ll tend to the task ourselves just fine.  I don’t fully subscribe to this, but I will say that I don’t believe men can exist in a state of noble savagery. 

It’s not only the best thing I’ve read this year, it’s also the best thing I’ve read in recent memory.  Perhaps a Moby Dick for our time? 

Don ponders his quirks

Do you have any quirks when it comes to reading?

One is likely common among all readers:  obsessing over a piece of text that I didn’t get the first or second time around.  Another is misplacing my reading glasses, if you can call that a quirk.  I can’t read a billboard without them.

 

Now he knows!

I don’t own a special pair of reading slippers of anything.  Maybe I should take up reading in a Snuggie, which I DO own and endorse heartily.

What’s on your bookshelf or in your book bag?

Loads of stuff on my Kindle:  Wuthering Heights (which I put down in favor of Blood Meridian),  Don Quixote, Ulysses… these are the titles that spring to mind immediately.  There are plenty of others.  Oh yes!  Moby Dick

Who supplies your reading material?

As for recommendations, I get them from friends or critics, and I take the pronouncements of the latter with a big grain of salt.  In terms of where I get my books, the usual:  Amazon, Half Price, those sorts of places.  Unfortunately, Houston, it seems (and correct me if I’m wrong), doesn’t have much of a reading culture, so there aren’t many independent book stores, with the exception of Brazos Books, which really is a great place. 

 

Don shares his favorite reading.

 

What type of reading do you usually enjoy?

Ho boy… this is the question that’s going to land me in hot water…

Without trying to sound like a pompous nitwit, I do consider myself a discerning reader.  I don’t devour everything I can get my hands on.  My reasons are simple.  First, I expect to get something out of any given book, something of lasting value.  Second, life’s too short to read lousy books.  More than any art form, books require tremendous expenditures of one’s time and energy.  A worthwhile book typically places great demands on its readers – they don’t reveal themselves readily, which, of course, is part of their appeal.  I can say that two authors whose works I’ll likely never read are Ayn Rand’s and Dave Eggers’. 

 Having said all that, I also read a lot of cookbooks, and sports, music, and artist biographies/histories/criticisms.  I’ve also read my fair share of Mad Magazine

Who are some authors that you read regardless of anything?

At one time, there were certain authors I fixated on to the exclusion of most others:  Kafka, Dostoyevsky, Nietzsche, Joyce.  Not so much anymore.

What’s on your TBR (to be read) list?

Don Quixote (I staggered through a quarter of it before putting it down), Ulysses, which I’ve attempted too many times to count now, Finnegan’s Wake, The Bible in greater depth,…

Can you recall a book that changed your life? How so?

Sure.  I was going through a real rough patch in my mid-to-late twenties when I read Thus Spake Zarathustra by Nietzsche, whose name I always have to look up to spell.  To make it easy on myself, I usually just call him Freddy Neato.  Really, Nietzsche calls us to our higher selves, ultimately.  That book helped to lift me out of a profound funk, and to set me on a path of self-discovery that is ongoing.  I’d call that a book of lasting value.

What was something you enjoyed reading as a child?

I have to confess something here:  I read precious little growing up after fifth grade or so.  Why this is, I don’t know.  However, language has always been important to me, even at that age.  I don’t understand the origins of its fascination for me, but it is what it is.  I enjoyed word games, for example, and I was a good writer, notwithstanding that I read very little aside from Hit Parader magazine.  I did watch a lot of comedy on HBO, too.  Maybe that’s part of it.  I’m not sure.

It wasn’t until I was a sophomore in college that I started to get it.  I have a brilliant English instructor to thank for that.  Thank you, Mrs. Moeller!

 

Don shares where he likes to read.

Where do you like to read?

I get a lot of reading done on the bus and at work.  It seems like I have to be away from the house to get any reading done because I’ll distract myself with something else.  I think I just need to get out more.

 

Other than reading, what do you like doing?

I enjoy cooking, writing once in a while, playing tennis (although I haven’t played in a long time), hanging out with family and friends, taking pictures of weird things, strange noisy devices, and making music, which, and I make no bones about it, I would like to do as a career.

 Where can we find you online?

Several places:

 Would you like to make a shout out to any other avid readers that are online?

My lovely wife Mercedes, an avid reader herself; my friends Mike, Eric, and Shawn; finally, several teachers:  Mrs. Harrison, my kindergarten teacher, who gave me a pile of books when I told her that no one would play with me (I sat in the dirt with that pile of books and looked at the pictures), Mrs. Ellen Brumback, the aforementioned Mrs. Moeller, and Dr. Rafael Saumell, a dear friend.

And gee whiz, my mom and dad!  How could forget my mom and dad!?  My mom would take me to the post office once a month to pick up my Dr. Seuss books, and it was a treat every time.  Mom and dad also spent a lot of money ordering books for me from Scholastic.  I have to say that they really were a source of encouragement, although I didn’t appreciate that until much later. 

How about sharing five random facts about you?

I’m always at pains trying to come up with things like this.  I could name favorite foods, but everyone does that.  I’m counting all this as the first random fact.

I hate yardwork.  It’s not relaxing, and I don’t feel like I’m in communion with nature while I’m doing it.  If anyone knows an enterprising youngster who wants to make some walkaround money, please contact me.

Lately I misplace things, which worries me somewhat.  I’ve misplaced shoes, for Pete’s sake, and a copy of Blood Meridian during our last move.  it’s gotta be around here somewhere, I keep saying, but it hasn’t turned up yet.

I’m double-jointed.  It makes for a fine party trick that’s guaranteed to clear the room of all but the other double-jointed people.

 

My favorite food is meat.

 

What’s the best thing you’ve read in the past year?

I’m currently reading Blood Meridian, which has me absolutely mesmerized.  Blood Meridian integrates language and theme as well as any book I’ve ever read.  Also, for a story in which blood and gore are prime constituents, it’s never excessive or gratuitive.  Equally remarkable is that McCarthy puts the lie to the notion that a story needs a sympathetic character – Blood Meridian doesn’t have one. 

 

I could go on an extended screed about this book, but I’ll give you the short version:  this books posits, among other things, that mankind will design and implement its own demise.  We don’t need to worry about something like global warming – we’ll tend to the task ourselves just fine.  I don’t fully subscribe to this, but I will say that I don’t believe men can exist in a state of noble savagery. 

 

It’s not only the best thing I’ve read this year, it’s also the best thing I’ve read in recent memory.  Perhaps a Moby Dick for our time? 

Do you have any quirks when it comes to reading?

One is likely common among all readers:  obsessing over a piece of text that I didn’t get the first or second time around.  Another is misplacing my reading glasses, if you can call that a quirk.  I can’t read a billboard without them.

 

 

 

 

I don’t own a special pair of reading slippers of anything.  Maybe I should take up reading in a Snuggie, which I DO own and endorse heartily.

 

What’s on your bookshelf or in your book bag?

Loads of stuff on my Kindle:  Wuthering Heights (which I put down in favor of Blood Meridian),  Don Quixote, Ulyssess… these are the titles that spring to mind immediately.  There are plenty of others.  Oh yes!  Moby Dick

 

Who supplies your reading material?

As for recommendations, I get them from friends or critics, and I take the pronouncements of the latter with a big grain of salt.  In terms of where I get my books, the usual:  Amazon, Half Price, those sorts of places.  Unfortunately, Houston, it seems (and correct me if I’m wrong), doesn’t have much of a reading culture, so there aren’t many independent book stores, with the exception of Brazos Books, which really is a great place. 

 

 

 

 

What type of reading do you usually enjoy?

Ho boy… this is the question that’s going to land me in hot water…

 

Without trying to sound like a pompous nitwit, I do consider myself a discerning reader.  I don’t devour everything I can get my hands on.  My reasons are simple.  First, I expect to get something out of any given book, something of lasting value.  Second, life’s too short to read lousy books.  More than any art form, books require tremendous expenditures of one’s time and energy.  A worthwhile book typically places great demands on its readers – they don’t reveal themselves readily, which, of course, is part of their appeal.  I can say that two authors whose works I’ll likely never read are Ayn Rand’s and Dave Eggers’. 

 

Having said all that, I also read a lot of cookbooks, and sports, music, and artist biographies/histories/criticisms.  I’ve also read my fair share of Mad Magazine. 

Who are some authors that you read regardless of anything?

At one time, there were certain authors I fixated on to the exclusion of most others:  Kafka, Dostoyevsky, Nietzsche, Joyce.  Not so much anymore.

 

What’s on your TBR (to be read) list?

Don Quixote (I staggered through a quarter of it before putting it down), Ulysses, which I’ve attempted too many times to count now, Finnegan’s Wake, The Bible in greater depth,…

 

Can you recall a book that changed your life? How so?

Sure.  I was going through a real rough patch in my mid-to-late twenties when I read Thus Spake Zarathustra by Nietzsche, whose name I always have to look up to spell.  To make it easy on myself, I usually just call him Freddy Neato.  Really, Nietzsche calls us to our higher selves, ultimately.  That book helped to lift me out of a profound funk, and to set me on a path of self-discovery that is ongoing.  I’d call that a book of lasting value.

What was something you enjoyed reading as a child?

I have to confess something here:  I read precious little growing up after fifth grade or so.  Why this is, I don’t know.  However, language has always been important to me, even at that age.  I don’t understand the origins of its fascination for me, but it is what it is.  I enjoyed word games, for example, and I was a good writer, notwithstanding that I read very little aside from Hit Parader magazine.  I did watch a lot of comedy on HBO, too.  Maybe that’s part of it.  I’m not sure.

It wasn’t until I was a sophomore in college that I started to get it.  I have a brilliant English instructor to thank for that.  Thank you, Mrs. Moeller!

 

Where do you like to read?

I get a lot of reading done on the bus and at work.  It seems like I have to be away from the house to get any reading done because I’ll distract myself with something else.  I think I just need to get out more.

 

Other than reading, what do you like doing?

I enjoy cooking, writing once in a while, playing tennis (although I haven’t played in a long time), hanging out with family and friends, taking pictures of weird things, strange noisy devices, and making music, which, and I make no bones about it, I would like to do as a career.

 

Where can we find you online?

Several places:

 

Would you like to make a shout out to any other avid readers that are online?

My lovely wife Mercedes, an avid reader herself; my friends Mike, Eric, and Shawn; finally, several teachers:  Mrs. Harrison, my kindergarten teacher, who gave me a pile of books when I told her that no one would play with me (I sat in the dirt with that pile of books and looked at the pictures), Mrs. Ellen Brumback, the aforementioned Mrs. Moeller, and Dr. Rafael Saumell, a dear friend.

 

And gee whiz, my mom and dad!  How could forget my mom and dad!?  My mom would take me to the post office once a month to pick up my Dr. Seuss books, and it was a treat every time.  Mom and dad also spent a lot of money ordering books for me from Scholastic.  I have to say that they really were a source of encouragement, although I didn’t appreciate that until much later. 

How about sharing five random facts about you?

I’m always at pains trying to come up with things like this.  I could name favorite foods, but everyone does that.  I’m counting all this as the first random fact.

 

I hate yardwork.  It’s not relaxing, and I don’t feel like I’m in communion with nature while I’m doing it.  If anyone knows an enterprising youngster who wants to make some walkaround money, please contact me.

 

Lately I misplace things, which worries me somewhat.  I’ve misplaced shoes, for Pete’s sake, and a copy of Blood Meridian during our last move.  it’s gotta be around here somewhere, I keep saying, but it hasn’t turned up yet.

 

I’m double-jointed.  It makes for a fine party trick that’s guaranteed to clear the room of all but the other double-jointed people.

 

He's double-jointed!

 

My favorite food is meat.

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3 thoughts on “January Reader of the Month – Don M.

  1. Pingback: Jorie’s Bookish Best Friends | Top Ten Tuesday | Jorie's Reads

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