Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Book Number 3 Competing Priorities

Posted by Amy Baranski

For my third book I've chose a piece of non-fiction, Shop Class as Soul Craft by Matthew B. Crawford, that was once in a heap of books belonging to my husband. The title caught my attention. I think I was romanced by the last two syllables "soulcraft." It's subtitled An inquiry into the value of work. I've often explained to friends, co-workers, anyone that will listen, that my most rewarding job was one in which I was working with my hands. This book, at least by title,seemed like it would address the struggle I feel as a knowledge worker who feels a contradictory and deep seeded primal desire need in me to make art or anything with my hands. I think that's why I enjoy the process of cooking so much. It allows me to create with my hands, away from the computer and abstract ideas, and work with tangible and raw materials.

So on one hand I feel a great importance and value in finishing this book. It doesn't feel like reading for pleasure. It feels like reading to better understand the human condition and my role in society.

Although it ironically comes off a bit academic-y, given that it's about valuing work outside the ivory tower, it has potential. But I'm in a bit of a pickle because I didn't start reading this book until a few days ago, and even then I've only handled about 10 pages at a time, versus 42. Last night, my husband suggested I take on a piece of young adult fiction just to meet the Read a Book a Week requirement. But I stared him down explaining the month's exercise was to stop setting down books that I've picked up and letting them collect dust for months on the bedroom floor near my nightstand. The point was to carry on with it and meet the deadline. I just don't know if it's feasible today. I still have loads of work to do, a trip to the bank ahead of me, dishes to wash, dinner to plan, weekly grocery shopping, and a slough of emails to respond to from friends and family. This week, or at this moment, I keep telling myself that I must be guided by my list of priorities (and yes I keep that list tacked to my wall updated daily). So, maybe I'll conk out and read a smaller, easier, more enjoyable book just to feel like "I did it" for the blog. Or maybe I'll extend this book into next week and try for a fourth book later on. I'm not sure yet what I'll do.

So on the other hand I feel a great importance in facing the facts of meeting personal goals beyond this blog that may help me better understand my own human condition and change my role in society.

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