About Me

Ithaca, New York
MWF, now officially 42, loves long walks on the beach and laughing with friends ... oh, wait. By day, I'm a mid-level university administrator reluctant to be more specific on a public forum. Nights and weekends, though, I'm a homebody with strong nerdist leanings. I'm never happier than when I'm chatting around the fire, playing board games, cooking up some pasta, and/or road-tripping with my family and friends. I studied psychology and then labor economics in school, and I work in higher education. From time to time I get smug, obsessive, or just plain boring about some combination of these topics, especially when inequality, parenting, or consumer culture are involved. You have been warned.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Not with a bang, but with a whisper

Well, I did it. I started this blog back in January to keep track of the books I read during the year, wondering if I'd make 100. Not quite a week into October, I got there. Yesterday, I finished my 100th book of the year: Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, A Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson, by Mitch Albom (Doubleday, 1997).

That explains the title of this post: In a word, eh. Just in case you've been on Mars for the last 12 years, this is the author's account of his weekly visits to an old college professor, Morrie Schwartz, during the last few months of Schwartz's life, while he was dying from ALS. It's a short book, with most chapters only a few pages; I read through it in the course of one Sunday afternoon. Yes, it's uplifting and heartwarming, and all the things you wouldn't expect of a book about dying. Yes, some of the aphorisms Morrie offers during what he deems his last class, or Mitch's last thesis, make for nice sound bites: "Love is the only rational act." "Learn how to die, and you learn how to live." You get the idea.

Perhaps if this was the first of Albom's books I'd read, I'd have found it more moving. This wasn't the case, however. After having read The Five People You Meet In Heaven and For One More Day, though ... this one seemed rather predictable. Tugs the heartstrings, makes you think about what really matters in life, not too taxing intellectually, sells like hotcakes. While Albom is a skilled writer, and his devotion to Schwartz was certainly admirable, I'm starting to think that having read three of his books, I've seen what he has to say. I'd probably read his latest, Have a Little Faith, if I stumbled across it, but won't go out of my way for it.

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