From Chocolate to Caviar (what do you feed your brain?)

choc_caviarThere are many fine blogs around – you could become a recluse and quit your job and still not have time to read them all – so apologies if it is years before I pay yours the respect it’s due.

Last week I read Down and Out in the 21st and was particularly drawn to the question of whether fiction is a waste of time and, particularly, the idea of Empty Calories for your Brain.

There is so much that we can (and do) read. The back of cereal packets, billboards, DVD packaging, books, blogs, Facebook, Twitter for example. Writers are (happily) burdened with the fact that they must read daily. And with great variety. So it is that I read a great deal and, without a doubt, read things that I would never have imagined reading in the past.

And what I read starts to categorise itself. And I thought that it may be worthwhile trying to order our reading via its value for your brain. A sort of chocolate to caviar of reading matter.

I guess it would start at White Chocolate (no nutritional value whatsoever) and include things like Caviar (luxury but not necessary), rice and peas (staple brain fodder). So at the White Chocolate end I would place books like Oh Dear Sylvia by Dawn French (and please don’t get me started on this…).

For Steak and Sea Bass I would list Rape, A Love Story by Joyce Carol-Oates and Weddings and Beheadings by Hanif Kureishi. These are, in my humble opinion, the type of essential read that all writers should add to their list.

I guess in the Caviar pot I’d put books like Narcopolis by Jaat Thayil – books that I’ve loved, that are swimming in sensory detail but may not appeal to everyone.

And I’m wondering how you would rate the books you’ve read if you had to order them in a culinary sense? I’d love to read your comments on this.

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2 thoughts on “From Chocolate to Caviar (what do you feed your brain?)

  1. jenny heys

    Oh dear Sylvia – more of a marshmallow (I know white choc has no nutritional value but I quite like it – whereas marshmalows make me nauseous). I love this idea. I am working on my list and have ordered weddings and beheadings from the library.

    Reply
    1. wimpywriter Post author

      Actually, you’re spot on – marshmallow it is, I cannot at the moment think of anything worse. I found Weddings and Beheadings in Hanif Kurieshi Collected Stories (2010) – and I have to admit he’s hard to put down. The Penis is another good one of his (in the same collection).
      PS: I can’t wait to read your list.

      Reply

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