Another Good Year

 I do love these books. Finished the 2010 edition this morning in bed, drinking coffee and listening to the birds. Bliss.

That probably sounds suspiciously indulgent, and do you ever notice how much subconscious severity we tend to use against ourselves to “balance out” our indulgences? For example, I was writing yesterday and realized—dimly, at first, because these kinds of self-denials are deep and automatic—that I needed to go to the bathroom and was beginning to be uncomfortable, but I wasn’t going to let myself leave the desk until I had finished some arbitrary number of words and felt that I deserved the break. (Until I realized, of course, what I was doing and immediately trotted off to the bathroom in a show of rare good sense). In the same vein, it would have been easy for me this morning to say, “well, I am going to finish this book because I only have 5 more pages, but I WILL NOT BE COMFORTABLE WHILE DOING IT, SO HELP ME. I’M NOT A WASTREL.”

Fortunately for humanity, there are moments in time when we all realize the general foolishness of our psychological makeup.

I read my five pages in bed. It was deliciously comfy.

Which has nothing to do with the book unfortunately, and I sort of meant to be plugging the book. I’ve been reading the Best American Essay collections for five years or so, and I do think this is one of the better ones. Although, I always love the chance to sample so many good writers. The topics usually aren’t bad either, although they got a little predictably political toward the end of the Bush administration. This one, however, is full of morally deviant lions, fascinating dead people, travel, Einstein and Jewish American politics, eyeballs, Van Gogh, and what it’s like to pronounce people dead in hospitals.

Fantastic, right?

I do a happy dance over the fresh edition every year, and so far I don’t know anyone who’s picked up the book on my recommendation, but it doesn’t even matter really. It’s nice to like what you like. And it’s nice to know what your friends like. And—if we’re recapping the whole post—it’s nice to be nice to yourself.

Happy Friday, everybody. An assortment of brothers are visiting us this weekend, so I need to clean the abode and bang out my verbage for the day.



2 thoughts on “Another Good Year

  1. Hooray for all of the above….brothers to essays to self-kindness! I approve, all round! The Italians have a phrase for that kind of self-mercy….can’t recall it at the moment but I remember that it starts with dulce…

    And on a side-note….I love the color of the cover of this year’s edition!

  2. I was thinking of your post today while I was trying to finish loading the dishwasher and feeling a similar need for a bio break. Hooray for taking care of ourselves. I wouldn’t deny another person that sort of mercy, why would I deny it to myself?

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