Do you know what is sad? That I don’t seem capable of reading an entire work of contemporary nonfiction. (Lengthy books used to be a badge of honor. Who didn’t feel like hot shit for finishing all 500-ish pages of Watership Down as a youngster?) I’ve been trying to stay relatively current on food world issues, despite never having been an issue-oriented person. So I checked out The Omnivore’s Dilemma a few weeks ago (The United States of Arugula is currently on hold, waiting for me to pick it up). Michael Pollan, the author, had a much talked about essay on e coli in the Sunday Times Magazine, which I was miraculously able to concentrate on for its entirety.
I voraciously consumed the first few chapters. I’m very anti-corn syrup (I’m still annoyed after finding out a few months ago that most brands of bread, rolls and buns contain pseudo-sugars) so everything about Americans essentially being walking corn chips resonated with me. You might have abstract notions on why industrially produced food is heinous or vaguely believe freshly grown produce is better but this book goes to the source and spells out every scary detail in a totally different fashion than Fast Food Nation. From the milkshake to the salad dressing, you wouldn’t believe how much corn is in a typical McDonald’s meal.
But after I got about half way through the book I became distracted by non-book things and just couldn’t plow through the remaining couple hundred pages. I’d lost my attention span for the subject matter. Or maybe my brain has turned to mush from processing too many blog snippets and mediocre shows like Heroes (which I’m watching this second thanks to DVR). And now my copy of The Omnivore’s Dilemma is due back tomorrow so that’s that unless I’m inspired to pick it up again in the future.
Do you know what is even more sad (no, not sadder)? That NYC public libraries, at least in my experience, do not have drop boxes for returning books. That’s just retarded. It’s not always possible to get to the library during their limited open hours to return material and even if you do you shouldn’t have to walk the thing inside and up to the counter if you don’t feel like it. (I have the right to an opinion on this oh so pressing matter, as I checked in drop box books for quite some time in the mid’90s. Not in NYC, obviously. One of the first things you did when opening the library was to swap an empty cart for the overflowing overnight receptacle.) A drop box is just common sense.
Monday I lugged the damn tome seven blocks to the library on my way to work only to find that it was closed even though I made a point of checking their website before leaving the house and it said 6pm and it was only 3:50pm. I realize seven blocks isn’t a trauma, but then I had to bring it (and the other book I was returning) to work with me and I already had things filling my bag so it was a hefty burden. I have plans after work tomorrow and won’t make it before 8pm, which is the library’s only late night. I tried renewing it but you can’t do that when a book’s on hold, which it is because it’s popular. Now, I’ll have to wait until Saturday and pay my 75-cent overdue fine because of this drop box-less fructose filled society.