Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Psychoacoustics: I Haven't Read Far Enough To Understand

Somehow, someway, I have managed to read almost an entire book in the past couple weeks. Spook, by Mary Roach. Not only does she write about casing out supernatural activity, but she is witty. She reminds me of myself, if I had the time and funds to go around proving/disproving supernatural forces at work. And, in case you had any doubts about me, I totally believe in the spirits, and I am completely convinced that no one will ever adequately prove their existence.
I don’t think anyone realizes how hard it is for me to finish reading a book. The bookshelves in my living room make me look fairly well read, if not moderately scholarly. And I have read . . . most of the books. Half of the books, at least. I have a handful of favorite books, but when I start to think of what they are, the same few that pop into my head. It’s true, Gone With the Wind is my favorite book. It took me almost three months to finish. For me that seems like a very long time.
I’m actually a pretty fast reader, but I am not a focused reader. It is incredibly hard for me to sit down, open a book, and just stare at it. That doesn’t sound so hard, but what about the perfect place? The right amount of pillows? My cup of tea?  A blanket? What about the sounds that are going on all around? What about the kitchen? Is it clean? Do I care if it is clean? I couldn’t possibly read while there is a pile of laundry in the room with me (not that I will fold it, I will just actively ignore it, which means watching reruns of Criminal Minds, or CSI in the middle of the afternoon). Are my kids thoroughly occupied? If not, I will have one jumping on my lap, and one strangling me from behind in my chair. I can’t read from this position, but I can play Bejeweled on my phone. And what else, what else, what else? That is how I feel about reading during the day.
There are a few solitary moments before bed. Reading in bed is the best. There is peace, quiet, warm blankets, pillows—and one page later I am asleep. It is very hard to finish a book by reading one page a day.
So, thank you very much, blogging time, for taking me away from the 10 minutes of focus I will have to finish “Chapter 10, Listening to Casper: A psychoacoustics expert sets up camp in England’s haunted spots.” It promises to be very enlightening, and turn out exactly as one would predict a psychoacoustic analysis to be  . . . I can only hope that it is as thrilling as the chapter about ectoplasm, and the mediums of the early 1920s (in which mediums stuff cheese cloth into any feasible, or unfeasible, bodily orifice to pull out during the key moment of a séance, proclaiming it was coming from the spirit world). I love this book way too much. I hope I finish it someday.

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