You might as well ask me to stop breathing as ask me to stop reading. Sure, I can hold my breath for a little while. I can give up reading for about as long.
Immediately after eye surgery, it was moot: I couldn't focus well enough to do much reading. Shouldn't read, can't read, vision not really good enough for television -- what to do?
Radio, of course. The present-day offerings of music, talk-show irritainment* and sports; there's just not much there that appeals to me. NPR has some good interview shows, their short top-of-hour newscasts are first-rate† and This American Life is a delight. But it's not like a book. You have to be there for it (mostly -- This American Life is extensively archived online). I read fiction for entertainment.
Recently, I've been reading Michael Connelly's "Harry Bosch" series and watching the TV adaptation. The books are award-winning and Connelly's plots are first-rate. I think the remixing and reduction/combining in the cast of characters done in adapting the series for television has improved it. Being able to look back over nearly twenty books and reknit the long arc is a second chance few writers receive, and the writer's room for the series treats the source material with respect.
The "Bosch" books and TV series are both the kind of crime fiction known as a "police procedural," following a case through the workings of law enforcement. One of the oldest examples is Jack Webb's Dragnet. Most people remember it from the TV series (if they remember it at all) but it began as a radio series, with slightly more relaxed acting style and the same stories-from-real-cases approach -- and the radio version of Dragnet is available online! The thirty-minute episodes are essentially novelettes and Webb's docudrama approach to storytelling holds up well even now. And if I fall asleep listening, I don't nap though an entire audiobook and have to scrub back frantically to figure out where I left off -- a self-contained half-hour story with a break in the middle is pretty easy to pick up on and start over.
The same site has plenty of other classic radio shows, too.
My eyes continue to heal and I am trying to readjust to not being severely nearsighted. I can use the computer without eyeglasses now, though it feels strange to do so. I have to sleep with taped-on eye shields (you dare not rub your eyes) and I'm supposed to wear my old eyeglasses‡ or a pair of disposable safety glasses (pretty ripply; I need to find my good safety glasses) during the day.
* Tamara's coinage for the widely popular kind of political commentary that leaves listeners annoyed if not outright enraged. It's not to my taste.
† Yes, yes, readers will tell me it's all slanted. Certainly NPR are great fans of government-as-helper, but you know that going in and it mostly affects what they cover and not how they cover it. When it comes to reporting the meat and potatoes of news -- wars, natural disasters, the fussings of legislatures and heads of state, they do fine.
‡ It turns out that layering a pair of +1.25 cheaters over my old glasses comes very close to giving me normal vision. That should tide me over until I can have temporary eyeglasses made Monday. A full eye exam and new glasses are several weeks away.
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