Essay Title
By Terry Donohue

I have to admit that Im something of a snob in regards to the books I read or at least the books I want to read. Ive always turned my nose up at the very mention of names like Crichton, Grisham and Seuss. As an English major consideration of books for leisurely reading has become a task complicated by the type of deconstructive thinking fostered by the English Major. As a consequence I find myself rejecting titles based on a deplorable predilection for the high brow.
This prejudiced predilection only really becomes a problem when I find myself in books stores, haughtily rolling my eyes at titles that have been made into movies (unless of course they were high brow movies) in search of something genuinely erudite. When I find it, a book that satisfies my own inflated sense of self-importance, something with a buzz-word name on it like Rushdie, Nabokov or Vonegut- I buy it, I bring it home, leaving it somewhere where my parents are sure to see it and wonder at how lucky they are to have a son like me. Then, reluctantly, I begin to read it, trying not to crease the binding. I read for about 20 minutes before I realize Im hungry. I fix myself a snack and sit down in front of the television, swearing to myself that I am to watch television only until my snack is finished at which point I am to return to my newly purchased masterpiece. The snack finished I continue to sit watching television, flipping back and forth between Comedy Central and MTV (though I hate to admit it. Its dreadfully low brow you know) and convincing myself against all logic that the snack isnt finished until Ive digested it and when that happens it should be high time for a nap-the comforst of which I take, without either fail or apology.
The book sits, spread open on page 14, taunting my own irresolute snobbery with its knowing eyes-the front and back covers. I try not to look at the book, which just sits there complacent and snide, until I cant take it anymore at which point I close it, oftentimes for good, having never ventured past the 14th page.
Sometimes I pick it up later (either in the day or in the year), and when I finally do make my way past the first 14 pages an into the last, I feel a sense of relief that had been waiting for me since the day I first bought it. I cant avoid feeling shame when I look at a book that I have bought but never read. I once picked up a copy of Crime and Punishment for five dollars when I was on vacation. I still sits on my shelf and even as I look at it now I cant imagine whats going to happen on page 20 because though Ive opened it several times since that initial time, Ive never been able to bring myself past page 19.
Something always seems to get in the way. During school I can never justify reading something for fun when I am deliberately not reading something for class. So, when I am asked to read the introduction to the Norton Anthology of Criticism, and when I discard any inkling I had to actually read it the last thing I can imagine doing is reading something else. Usually, the only safe way for me to avoid feelings of guilt is for me to snack, or nap, or watch T.V. or sometimes, usually, all three. Im very high-brow in that way.
I know its a shame, not reading as much as I should that is. My father told me that this is the last opportunity Ill have in my life to be encouraged to fall in love with words. I always chalked his poetic sensibility up as being cheesy and melodramatic, but now, in my fourth year at the University I can feel the sands of time dropping from beneath my feet and I can almost understand my fathers meaning. Ive always loved reading, but I can never seem to find the right thing to read. Recently, though, the dilemma became more clear to me and Ive come to the resolution that it doesnt matter what I read, be it a history book or The Lord of the Rings or a Dr. Seuss story or an article in Newsweek (and most certainly not People magazine, and especially not the 50 most beautiful people issue, and especially not the Style Watch section. I am terribly High Brow, you see, and I dont even know what all that People Magazine nonsense is). So long as Im reading Im feeding my mind and not my gut, which, thanks to several years worth of snacking and napping, has now become something of a masterpiece in its own right.