Kruiser’s (Almost) Daily Distraction: 2023 Will Be My Year of Reading Dangerously

(Kruiser’s Permanote Description: This column is intended to be a lighthearted, short-form way to frequently connect with our cherished VIP readers. Sometimes it will be serious. Sometimes it will be fun. Sometimes it will be a cornucopia of intellectual curiosities and fascinations. OK, maybe not so much the last one. Anyway, as this is a departure for me, I’m including this explanation at the top of each post for a while. Also, non-subscribers can see the first couple of paragraphs so I am in desperate need of filler until we get to the private stuff (subscribe here). Please remember that there is a standing invitation to ask me anything in the comments. Once in a while, I’ll answer some of them.)

Yes, I’m back with this effort. This, and “Worst Week Ever” are going to be back in the permanent rotation this year. I don’t know what happened last year that got me out of the habit.

That’s the starting point for this column: 2022 didn’t turn out at all the way I thought it would. Maybe it was the election. Maybe it was that I still had all of my COVID fat, so it didn’t really feel as if I had “moved on.”

via GIPHY

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The Oompa Loompa thing is something that my sister and I have been doing for years whenever we’ve gained a little weight. It’s lighthearted self-mockery, which I think is healthy. Sis is the one in the feature photo with me, by the way.

Given the low bar set by 2020 and 2021, 2022 should have been a bang-up year. Maybe I expected too much out of it. Or out of myself.

I had some ambitious reading goals for the year that I didn’t come close to achieving. I’m more focused so far this year. For example, I’m making a concerted effort to clear a couple of the books on my Goodreads “Currently Reading” list that I’ve been slogging through for a long time, like Infinite Jest. Honestly, I do think some parts of this almost 1000-page novel are brilliant. Others, however, are extended glimpses into whatever madness it was that made David Foster Wallace take his own life.

The good news is that I have around 400 pages left to read so the end is in sight. I want to be finished with it by the end of February.

Whenever I write about books here, I end up with great suggestions from many of you. I was thinking of starting a VIP Kruiser Book Club here, but Larry O’Connor already has one and a lot of my friends here participate in that. So, I’m simply opening up the virtual suggestion box.

I want to write more fiction, so I’m trying to read more fiction. At present, my nonfiction list is pretty well covered. Here’s the Goodreads list (follow me!). You can see that there’s plenty of heft there. I will soon be tackling Ron Chernow’s Grant, so I’ll have my hands full for nonfiction.

What I want to do this year is get outside of my comfort zone with fiction. I read a lot of sci-fi and, lately, a lot of murder mysteries that are set in Ireland. When I go niche, I go niche.

I haven’t been exploring any contemporary fiction that doesn’t easily fit in a genre. That’s where you come in, my friends. I’d rather trust you than The New York Times for my book suggestions.

Perhaps this could a new twist on a book club. We can have an ongoing discussion about books. We just won’t all be reading the same thing. Or getting drunk when we talk about it.

We’ll see. The year is young and I’m in the mood to shake things up.

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