I recently took up the One Hundred Push Ups challenge, which aims to get me doing 100 push ups in about seven weeks. (I’m on day two of the first week, so there’s not much to it. So far, it’s not bad….but I only have to do less that 15 push ups during one session. Ask me again in week six. I probably won’t be able to move.)
Lately, there are quite a number of memoirs coming out, written by people who have undertaken some interesting idea, usually for one year. And then they write a book about it. What kinds of topics? People will eat a certain way for one year, or they might choose to try to live on an impossible sounding budget for one year…you get the idea. It’s an intriguing idea and most of the books are fascinating, but really, how much longer can this go on? Won’t we get tired of reading books like this? It’s not like many people read a book then decide, yes, this is the way I want to live the rest of my life! I will eat nothing but pizza forever, and be thin and happy and healthy (or whatever the end result was). No, I think most people read this type of memoir purely for interest, then put it down and move on with their lives.
However, some authors have taken the idea to heart, doing book after book with one wacky idea after another. A.J. Jacobs has just finished another such memoir called Drop Dead Healthy : One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection. He chose to live for one year, researching and trying out the “healthiest” diets, exercise regimes and lifestyle choices and document it all along the way.
Now, this is not the first time Jacobs has chosen a path like this. He wrote a book about following every rule in the Bible for one year (The Year of Living Biblically), and one about reading every fact in the Encyclopedia in order to become the smartest person in the world (The Know-It-All). They’re well written, entertaining and certainly enough to help Jacobs make a living from his writing. Good for him! I’m just wondering where this trend will all end.
Will we have to endure One Man’s Quest to Keep all of this Nail Clippings for One Year, or One Woman’s Year Eating Nothing but Vitamins? Do we care? Do we want more of this? Maybe I see too many of these kinds of books, working in a library. But the world of books and the internet are swamped with people documenting their lives and honestly, I don’t care very much anymore. Tell me a great story. Show me a life that’s really amazing and worth emulating. Make me believe I spent two weeks (or two days or two months) reading something truly worthwhile of my busy life.
I won’t bore you with the push-ups progression, I promise. It’s not going to change your life (and probably won’t change mine). But I’ll do it anyway and hope for a good end result. I just won’t write about it.
So what are you reading that’s really great?