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The Sunday Salon: Too Much Talking of Food

by Kim on September 27, 2009 · 14 comments

The Sunday Salon.com This week author Michal Pollan was in Madison for a huge series of events because his book In Defense of Food was picked for UW-Madison’s first ever common reading program, Go Big Read. It feels like the whole campus has been buzzing because of his visit.

Or, it just feels like the whole campus because I’ve been positively steeped in Michael Pollan events since Tuesday and I’m worn out!

Pollan_lecture_Kohl09_9275My magazine writing class is doing food writing this semester, so we were required to attend foodie events this week in order to write our first story. I wanted to write specifically about how people talk about a book like In Defense of Food, so I went to all the public events Pollan was speaking at — a speech to 7,000 people at the Kohl Center, a panel discussion to an audience of about 1,300, and his keynote at the Food for Thought Festival. Plus, I helped facilitate a small-group discussion about the book in one of the residence halls on campus. The events were a lot of fun, no doubt, but it’s all a lot to think about.

I’m having a sort of mental block when it comes to trying to write about Michael Pollan and the book, which is not helping as I try to write my story! My brain is in coma from thinking about food too much, which had made it hard for me to have the energy to read something different as an antidote to all the food chatter. This has also put a damper on my reading — I don’t think I picked up a book for pleasure the entire week. Ugh!

Do you ever find yourself worn out from reading about the same topic or being inundated with a particular subject? What to you use for a mental jolt to get you out of a reading coma?

Photo by Jeff Miller from UW News

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebecca Reid September 28, 2009 at 5:40 am

Yes, I do get worn out. But I’m not in school so I can drop it and pick up something else! I don’t have any ideas for you, unfortunately. I hope you get out of the rut and/or get a chance to take a Michael Pollan break!!

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Kim September 29, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Yea, having the choice to drop it is a nice benefit of not being in school :) I am going to drop a totally unrelated book I’m reading that’s draining me, so I hope that will help too.

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Nymeth September 28, 2009 at 6:01 am

I get worn out too for sure. Maybe taking a day off, thinking about something else, reading a completely unrelated book will help some? Of course, that’s only possible if you don’t have pressing deadlines…

Good luck, Kim!

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Kim September 29, 2009 at 9:48 pm

I finally hit all my deadlines about 30 minutes ago, so I’m feeling much, much better! I can’t wait to read a bit before bed tonight

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Jeanne September 28, 2009 at 9:22 am

I got worn out and wrote about it this week, too–I read some poems to switch gears. A lot of my commenters said they listen to music.

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Kim September 29, 2009 at 9:49 pm

I loved that post, it was inspiring. I have some Wendell Barry poetry on my shelf that’s calling.

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Jenny September 28, 2009 at 11:24 am

I’m just about to start reading In Defense of Food for a challenge!

When I’m burned out I like to watch trashy television – lucky for me fall TV has just started and I have lots of options. Sitcoms are especially good for when I am stressed, or pretty much anything on TLC. (An embarrassing confession but there it is.)

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Kim September 29, 2009 at 9:49 pm

It’s a thought-provoking book, that’s for sure.

I’ve been watching more tv than usual lately — contributing to my pressing deadlines! I usually watch online (fewer commercials!)

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sarah pekkanen September 28, 2009 at 12:18 pm

Definitely, it happens to everyone! Go see a movie, go for a walk, read something totally different… those are the things that work for me.
By the way, I hope you do get that big chair soon – and many thanks for the comment on my BBAW post!

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Kim September 29, 2009 at 9:51 pm

Thanks, I’m looking forward to the chair as well. I’m excited for some totally different reading over the weekend.

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LindsayC September 28, 2009 at 3:34 pm

That’s funny — when I get worn out on a subject, I read about FOOD! I could read food writing all day every day. But I digress.

When it comes to class-related things that you need to focus on, I think it’s helpful to switch it up with short breaks. Besides food writing, I use New Yorker articles, New York Times arts stories and even websites like icanhascheezburger or dooce or gofugyourself to give myself a short break. And then I get back to it.

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Kim September 29, 2009 at 9:53 pm

Well, I could read writing about food all the time, it’s reading about food politics and controversy that’s wearing me out :)

I like the idea of New Yorker articles — I forget I can go read those online even if I don’t get the magazine.

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Todd September 29, 2009 at 3:05 pm

I got burned out on Faulkner after finishing my thesis. Also got burned out on literary theory. Reading Faulkner again just took time — about 13 years. Reading literary theory — no plans to read lit crit theory again any time soon. Sometimes it just takes time and switching to different subject/subjects to get back to a subject you previously enjoyed. Especially if you’ve been saturated by the subject in grad school.

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Kim September 29, 2009 at 9:55 pm

Definitely; I think grad school has a way of wearing you out on a subject after a bit. It was just a lot of talk of food all the time, plus thinking about my food choices all the time because I was thinking about food all the time… just tiring.

I sort of want to read some critical lit theory again once I’m not reading other heavy stuff. Faulkner, I’ll read again eventually, that guy just confuses me a bit.

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