Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

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June 21, 2015

"always underlining"

TiR was predisposed to join Thomas Chatterton Williams in admiration of his dad, after reading these parts of the interview linked here:

Q: Your father owned 15,000 books, but says that he has never read for enjoyment. What is the difference between your attitude toward books and your father’s?

A: It’s true, Pappy is in his 70s and to this day he still underlines articles in the newspaper every morning. My father loves to read, but he can’t simply relax with a good book. Reading will always be work for him. He always felt pressure to read for the purpose of obtaining practical knowledge (even from novels). He was born black in the segregated south in the 1930s, and he figured out early on that if he didn’t teach himself what he needed to know through books no one else would. I contrast this with my own view that it’s nice to enjoy literature for purely aesthetic reasons.

. . . 

Q: How does your father feel about Losing My Cool?

A: Since then he’s read the book cover to cover at least three more times, underlining it extensively (always underlining!). 

Williams here generally is discussing his 2011 book, Losing My Cool: Love, Literature, and a Black Man's Escape from the Crowd.

TCW first came to TiR's attention with his Baldwinian take on the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, here.

A great relief it is to search the DSM    IV  [.pdf]  and V  and to find no entries to indicate that an autodidactic insistence on reading texts in hardcopy and underlining them has (yet) come to be considered a disorder.