I sat down to start reading Susan Vreeland's collection of short stories, Life Studies. (I must confess I am a little embarrassed to be seen carrying this book around due to the rather risque cover art, so it will probably be read only in the privacy of my nook). After glancing through the table of contents, I turned the page to find the following quote:
The real question is: To whom does the meaning of the art of the past properly belong? To those who can apply it to their own lives, or to a cultural hierarchy of relic specialists? -- John Berger, Ways of Seeing, 1977
Ok -- let's count the number of words here: 35. That means that I have read a whopping one word per minute! Now why did it take me so long? Well, it probably took me a matter of seconds to read the two sentences, but they really hit a chord with me so I decided to investigate the book online. I went to Amazon and read the description. It sounded good. I scrolled further down and read the reviews, which were mixed but interesting. I decided to see if my local library carried the book. It did not - but it was easily ordered through our terrific inter-library system.
But then I was still curious, so I returned to the Amazon site and surfed through the list of books that were mentioned as other possible interests. I found two or three that sounded worthy of further investigation, which led to reading more book reviews, searching the online library catalog, and requesting a hold.
And so, thirty minutes later I am once again sitting on my couch ready to start reading the first story in the collection. That is, of course, until an interesting footnote leads me on another internet exploration.