My family has been in the grip of a particularly nasty stomach virus this week, so aside from endless loads of laundry, I fear I’ve not been able to accomplish much. My recent attempts to read this week’s New Yorker felt uncomfortably like the Shouts and Murmurs piece contained therein, “Me Reading,” in which the author, plowing through Anna Karenina on her Kindle while seated on the subway, is hard-pressed to concentrate.
“ ‘Yes, I understand it all now,’ said Darya Alexandrovna. ‘You can’t understand it; for you men, who are free and make your own choice, it’s always clear whom you love.’ ”
Did Larry really finish the Pecan Sandies? Now what will I eat?
“Sergei Ivanovich Koznyshev wanted a . . .”
Jane’s a nice name. I could make waffles
My own waffling came to an abrupt end, however, when I got to Adam Gopnik’s The Caging of America: Why Do We Lock Up so Many People? His argument: “The scale and the brutality of our prisons are the moral scandal of American life,” which he elaborates in his discussion of several recently published books on the American system of incarceration. His piece was so effective, so astringent, so appalling that it banished all distraction–professional, domestic, and epidemiological–and nailed me to the page.
I’m curious to know what you’ve read, whether an article, a book, or a blog post, that shut down your multitasking “monkey mind” and commanded your absolute attention.