Jen Bingham


Back on the Paper

Think Kit Day 10: What habits did you start this year that you would like to continue?

I used to read constantly. Then the Internet came along with its seductive ways. Clickclickclickclick. So many pages. So many pictures, so many jokes.

My attention span shortened. It’s not like I quit reading or anything. But I read fewer books as the Internet gradually became my overlord. Admittedly, I found out about all kinda cool stuff such as webcomics(!), lolcats, and memes. I had witty social media exchanges that inspired me to write my first novel (h/t to Evan, Traci, and Beth).

But I also found myself endlessly clicking around on stuff that didn’t interest me all that much. Sometimes this ended up being depressing.

And then a couple things happened.

  • I brought home this book called The Teleportation Accident. It’s like, absurd intellectual British humor set in Germany in the 30s with lots of weird anachronistic things. I started reading it. I got a couple paragraphs in and thought “This is pretentious,” I put it down. I probably thought about going to find my laptop. Then I thought: “But you like pretentious stuff. Sometimes pretentious really just means smart. Why don’t you read stuff like this any more?” And I picked it back up. It’s not the best book in the world, but I loved it. Reading it made me happy. It made me want to read smart books again.
  • Breaking Bad! OMG. Of course you know how great it is or at least how great people think it is. I was avoiding it. Then I wasn’t. And then the show’s last couple episodes aired while I was still in the middle of season 3. Not finding out the ending of that teevee show until I watched it became one of the great goals of my life and I met that goal by avoiding the Internet. And during that time I read a shitload of books.

So now I’m back on the paper. I’ve been reading like a madwoman lately and very happy about it. One thing I’d like to get back to is going on a reading bender. You know how people talk about Netflix sprees? Well, I do that with books. Find me a new writer that I love and I will go crazy on their ass.

On Thanksgiving, I found out that one of my favorite mystery writers is gone. Robert Barnard. I don’t know a lot about his life, but I know I love his books. I am setting up to reread his entire oeuvre. First thing I did was gather the materials. A list of all books he wrote. Then I hunted down what I could from the library and bought battered copies of the others off Amazon. I shall read them in order to celebrate him. Here are some terrible photos of the first half of his output.



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  1. Jen!!! I loved this. I can relate to your journey back-and-forth with the internet. Like you, I have found happiness in reading more, again. I’m in the middle of The Imperfectionists, right now. Which, to be honest, I chose because of the title. And a recommendation from a Barnes and Noble staffer. (but most of all because of the title). Hope you are well and have a great Christmas!

  2. Jen

    December 12, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Thanks so much, Patty. I do like that title too. I will check it out. I also want to read this book called The Interestings. I’m in the middle of 7 books right now, so I really need to finish some before I start more.

  3. I am reading about the domestication of dogs, which is like reading a mystery, except no one is murdered, and the goal is to find the great protodog link to the wolf.

  4. Jen

    December 12, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    I’m always DTHMADD (down to hear more about dog domestication).

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