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If any time of the year is reading season, now would be it. By the time I get home from basketball practice, I have enough time to warm up leftovers or throw some meat and vegetables into something like a meal. Then, since there’s no sunlight but there’s time before bed, I find something to pass a few hours. This can be dangerous, of course, because things like Netflix exist, and even though I’ve watched all the MeatEater episodes that take place in Alaska more than once, I’m tempted to watch them even more rather than be productive.
Reading season 013118 AE 1 For the Capital City Weekly If any time of the year is reading season, now would be it. By the time I get home from basketball practice, I have enough time to warm up leftovers or throw some meat and vegetables into something like a meal. Then, since there’s no sunlight but there’s time before bed, I find something to pass a few hours. This can be dangerous, of course, because things like Netflix exist, and even though I’ve watched all the MeatEater episodes that take place in Alaska more than once, I’m tempted to watch them even more rather than be productive.

As an angler it's nice to know everyone looks ridiculous once in a while. As a writer, it's nice to know there's an audience willing to read those stories. Photo courtesy of Jeff Lund

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Story last updated at 1/31/2018 - 3:38 pm

Reading season

If any time of the year is reading season, now would be it. By the time I get home from basketball practice, I have enough time to warm up leftovers or throw some meat and vegetables into something like a meal. Then, since there’s no sunlight but there’s time before bed, I find something to pass a few hours. This can be dangerous, of course, because things like Netflix exist, and even though I’ve watched all the MeatEater episodes that take place in Alaska more than once, I’m tempted to watch them even more rather than be productive.

So I’ve established a habit of reading every night before bed.

I went through some heavy books on non-conventional medicine and essentialism. Now I’m back home to pleasure reading with the works of Bill Heavey and Nick Jans. The nice thing about Heavey and Jans is that they aren’t heavy reads. It’s not a knock on them as writers, because their books aren’t simplistic. Instead, they’re recreational, with forays into deep topics. As a reader you can jump — or just dip a boot.

Books that challenge the way you live, well, challenge the way you live. They require intellect. Pleasure reading requires attention because I so often drift into my own outdoor adventures, which is kind of the point, but if you don’t pay attention you’re looking at words rather than reading.

I just ordered the new John Gierach book “A Fly Rod of Your Own” which is scheduled to arrive just as I’ll finish Heavey’s new title, “Should the Tent Be Burning Like That?”

Fly fishing writers tend to be super academic. The sentences are ornate and require a sort of cerebral dexterity. It makes sense that sophisticated fishing would spawn sophisticated words to describe the adventures therein. People don’t talk about catching largemouth bass with spinnerbaits the way people catching cutthroat trout with dry flies do. That’s not necessarily an intellectual indictment of bait fishermen, it’s just an observation.

At some point in your life you have to choose your type of water the way people who like a good road metaphor would choose a lane. For some that is the safety of a pond. For others, it’s a torrent of whitewater.

In the same way, what you read often reflects who you are — or who you want to be. And yeah, if all you jump into are the muddied, polluted waters of angry political opinions based on manipulated information on social media, then you’re probably pretty angry or just want to feel part of something, or a victim.

That’s not my water.

I probably like Heavey and Jans because, as a writer, I aspire to one day be considered a junior varsity version of either and want to live a life filled with enough noteworthy outdoor things to fill the pages of multiple books. What most connects me to Heavey, I think, is that he does not proclaim to be an expert at anything but being an amateur.

He wrote, “When I first started writing for Field & Stream, I saw that the expert end of its masthead was overpopulated. The other end – a place for amateurs with more passion than proficiency, for guys who fail more often than they succeed – was wide open. It was here that by inclination and experience I planted my flag.”

The dude speaks to me.

Jeff Lunds writes and teaches out of Ketchikan.