Comfort Food

Working at a classical school entails a certain amount of healthy peer pressure. When a colleague asks you, "What are you reading?" she may not expect you to say "the Nichomachean Ethics in the original language." On the other hand, she might be surprised if you said, "I'm reading an Amish Vampire romance. The hero is so handsome!" 

It's good to be held accountable, but of course, sometimes one gets tired and turns to literary comfort food. I had just finished a novel and was looking to up my intellectual game. I tried some cultural critiques, but those left me cold and empty. I tried Narrative of Frederick Douglass, but could only read about the depravity of slavery for a few minutes before needing a breather.

Finally, I settled on an old favorite: my battered childhood copy of Gnomes. It's 70's folklore imagination at its best--a literary resource book that, according to author Wil Hugyen, "fills a deplorable gap, for the published literature on gnomes is virtually non-existent." After I'm done with this, I might just read Dinotopia. There are so many dystopias running about; it's pleasant to consider some utopian options, especially if they include cutaway diagrams of gnomish kitchens with carved green doors and painted fireplaces.