Without Pictures

Entirely by accident, I seem to have fallen back into reading prose after a significant period where that wasn’t really true. I am, to be blunt, fucking thrilled about this.

Just as I can’t really explain why I stopped in the first place — two of the causes were that my brain wasn’t in the right place to have that kind of sustained concentration across however many nights it would take to complete a book, and the earliest days of COVID lockdown meant that the library was off-limits, but that feels like just the tip of an undefined iceberg, if I’m being honest — I couldn’t really tell you what made me go back or how it happened. And yet, here I am.

Without trying, I appear to have made it through a book a week for the first month of the year. They’re not all necessary good books — I read a 300+ page collection of essays on transmedia storytelling as research for something I’m doing for work, for example — and even the ones I enjoyed weren’t necessarily quality storytelling. I’m looking at you, Star Trek: The Next Generation Warped, which is essentially just a joke book making fun of ST:TNG for a few hundred pages. It is, however, a lot of fun for those of us who grew up on that show, and are perfectly aware of its many flaws. (It’s also written by the showrunner for the wonderful Star Trek: Lower Decks, if that acts as a recommendation to anyone.)

I defend myself by pointing out that I also completed the mammoth Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers, which is an almost 1,000-page long oral history of the cable channel filled with all kinds of interesting and occasionally amusing information about television across the last 50 years or so. Surely that counts as more than one book, given just how fucking long it is? Viewed through that lens, maybe I’ve been reading even more than I thought, allowing me to feel especially smug about myself for just this once. Look at me, reading prose and enjoying it like a big boy!

(The other books I didn’t mention but read were two critical books about comics, and specifically, Alan Moore-related topics: Poisoned Chalice, about the history of Marvelman and Miracleman, and The British Invasion, a fun analysis and comparison of the work and careers of Moore, Grant Morrison, and Neil Gaiman. What can I say? I’m a nerd.)

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