Thanksgiving Weekend and I Just Want To Read

A lot is going on this week. We had Thanksgiving and I got sick (again). I think I should go to the doctor but then that brings up the whole question of health insurance and dealing with a Chinese hospital. I can’t go to an international hospital without paying a ridiculous amount.

Alas, small problems. It’s nothing too big. I can deal with it if I just keep doing the simple stuff that I know will help. Sleep, eat healthy, drink water, rest. 

I have been reading a lot recently. I just finished the book Junkie by William S. Burroughs. Is about the author’s notorious experiences as a Heroine addict. 

I liked it, for the most part. Although perhaps I should have read the abridged version, as opposed to listening to the unabridged. Three quarters of the way through, the book sagged, when Burroughs describes in painstaking detail his experience in New Orleans when he caught a firearm charge. 

The strongest writing in the book is the descriptions of that particular period of America during the 1950’s, when the country was still rising out of the Great Depression. In that time, people’s relationship to drugs, at least compared to today, in their relative infancy.

Burroughs does a very good job of articulating the phases of addiction and all of the elements which make up that life. As we know, every community has an ecosystem, and it’s very interesting to read about this one.

It’s a quick read. So after I finished that, I started up “In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts” which is about the Hungarian Jewish doctor, Daniel Mate, who works in the slums of Vancouver helping patients to deal with serious drug addictions. 

As Burroughs was not a trained physician and wrote directly from his own experiences as an addict, it’s good to read Mate. He presents a medical practitioner’s interpretation of addiction in the 21st century, some decades since Burrough’s novel.

I guess some of the readers may be a little disturbed by my fascination with drug addictions. That’s understandable. I would think it’s weird too, except for the fact that I have many people in my personal life that are directly affected by it. I guess in many ways your own reality will push you to read about certain topics.

I still haven’t finished Mate’s book but so far it reads well. He does a good job of not just presenting facts, but using his experiences to create a narrative in which the reader is given his perspective on addiction treatment.

I also read the Ascent of Money by Nial Ferguson. The parts about colonization of South America and the creation of paper currency are quite interesting, however after that he loses the reader a bit in the dry presentation of facts. 

It just works better when you use stories to tell facts, rather than the other way around. I don’t like reading text books. To me, it’s just a bit of a drag. I guess the only time that I would want to read a text book would be for an exam.

Yes, I have been on a bit of a reading binge.

Sometimes it gets like that for me. I finish one book and then I just immediately pick up another. Its almost like my own little addiction, in a way. I just love learning new things and hearing well formulated arguments.

There is so much knowledge in the world it will be impossible to consume it all. Even just a fraction, it’s not possible. But still, it doesn’t stop this urge I have to read and understand everything.

That’s why its important for me to go outside and talk with other people. It’s easy and seducing to just stay inside and read all day. To me, there would be nothing better. I think a lot of people can relate with that. It’s a form of security and protection, in it’s own bookish way.

But today I continue the book isolation. I feel OK, but not well enough to leave my apartment and interact with the world. I think it’s better to sleep and let whatever has inflicted my body run its course.

Anyways, if I do leave here, then it should be for the hospital. That way I could get a professional opinion. Texting your friends studying medicine only gets you resentments and half baked diagnoses.

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