By Chandler Walter, Editor-in-Chief
I’m blessed with the ability to walk and read at the same time.
While it took a few years of practice—and a few pole-to-head collisions—I can now do it with only a small degree of concentration, and only the occasional comment from coworkers about how odd it actually looks when they see me doing it. (And that’s while being surrounded by people that are constantly walking around with their eyes glued to their phones, but I digress.)
All this is to say that I read. A lot. I tend to stick to small paperbacks because they fit in my pocket and can easily be pulled out while on the bus, commuting on the SkyTrain, or when I’m heading out for lunch.
I probably consume about three small novels a month, though it wasn’t until recently that I diverged onto the road less travelled (by me, at least): Non-fiction.
I picked up The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson because I’d finished a reread of Stranger in a Strange Land, was on vacation (away from my bookshelf of well-worn (ahem half-destroyed) favourites), and Manson’s work had been laying around the house that I was staying in.
I read the book in about two days flat—I was on vacation, after all—and while it didn’t quite follow the usual “beginning/middle/end” plot progression I’d come to know and expect, it was a lot more enjoyable than I ever thought a non-fiction self-help book had any right to be.
I won’t delve too deeply into exactly what the book is all about, though the title might offer something of a hint. I was pleased to find that it was written in a way that didn’t sound too preachy, info-heavy, or spiritual—it was just a guy telling it how (he believes) it is.
More than a few anecdotes were thrown in to offer something of a story from time to time, there was consistency throughout the book—with multiple references to one rather shitty ex-girlfriend—and it all culminated in an ending that felt complete and deserved.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck was the first non-fiction book I think I’ve ever completed, though that’s not to say that I haven’t read my fair share of newspaper articles, textbooks, or billboard advertisements—I just never gave much thought to the idea that real-world information could be taken in through the form of a paperback book.
I’m hoping that Manson’s work was a prime example of what non-fiction books can actually be if given the change, and not just some outlier for the genre in that it was, you know, extremely readable, but either way I think I’d like to find out, because why not learn some stuff about the world through straight facts and rather than metaphors every now and then?
… Or I could just read the Song of Ice and Fire series for the fourth time. Only time (and my next trip to Chapters) will tell.