The Pleasure of Rabbit Holes

Virginia Heffernan


The Pleasure of Rabbit Holes

The Pleasure of Rabbit Holes

  • Title: The Pleasure of Rabbit Holes
  • Author: Virginia Heffernan
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 447
  • Format: NYT's Magazine



Don t miss this fun article about the pleasure of reading E.LeibBy VIRGINIA HEFFERNANPublished October 21, 2007My mother s obsession with spy novels and murder mysteries gave her an uncanny authority in our house She entered what seemed like a holy state whenever she sat, legs folded and forehead creased, immersed in a paperback by Ken Follett or P D James In her tDon t miss this fun article about the pleasure of reading E.LeibBy VIRGINIA HEFFERNANPublished October 21, 2007My mother s obsession with spy novels and murder mysteries gave her an uncanny authority in our house She entered what seemed like a holy state whenever she sat, legs folded and forehead creased, immersed in a paperback by Ken Follett or P D James In her trance, she didn t have time for housework or dinner She seemed deaf when we called her The sun would set the TV room went dark She forgot to watch the evening news.Why should she have time for Dan Rather Her calling was higher first degree murder and national security As the cold war reached its end stage, my brother and I came to believe that only the X Men, Alexander Haig and my mother, with her firm understanding of the KGB and escape routes through the Ural Mountains, were equipped to keep intercontinental ballistic missiles at bay.But as vital as we found our mom s commitment to espionage, what really amazed us was her capacity for absorption The art critic Michael Fried sees beauty in absorption partly because it s so unshowy, inward and untheatrical At school, we were mostly learning that achievement was what students performed for audiences we didn t cultivate the quieter pleasures of becoming absorbed.When my mother opened a novel and she read Melville and Dickens too, not just pulp , I would watch her in a flash her eyes passed from ordinary to skeptical As if by magic or some form of teleportation she learned at Langley, she progressively seemed to vanish.I d like to say I achieved this sanctified state for myself when I encountered Almod var or Pink Floyd Not exactly Movies and music engage and enlighten me, but they don t steal my mind.For that I increasingly turn to screens handheld, laptop, desktop, television a medium I reviewed for this newspaper for the past four years where immersive intrigue is available to all, in a dazzling array of forms from elegant, minimalist video to anarchic message boards that are crammed with weirdly spelled words and crazy person emoticons.Every visitor to the Internet, or even user of e mail, is greeted by insidious questions, seductive links and tantalizing chances to click These rabbit holes the kind Alice fell down, the kind that tempt Neo in The Matrix provide microportals into what can only be described as new worlds There s a blog, Stolen Vermeer, where you can trade tips with people searching for the Vermeer boosted during the 300 million art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in 1990 Flickr pages where you can scrutinize and discuss photos of what people around the world are wearing today and a vast message board, prisontalk, where in addition to advice for the incarcerated and those who love them you can find poetry and letters by people currently in prison.Say I get e mail that mentions Nasdijj Is that an amp manufacturer, I hazily wonder, picturing a logo Two minutes later I ve read the entry, and I m onto source material Turns out he s one of those fraud memoirists whom everyone adored until they found out he wasn t who he claimed to be.Evidently, the disgraced author of The Blood Runs Like a River Through My Dreams has turned to video, which YouTube doesn t label as fact or fiction Nasdijj must find that freeing I m watching his trippy antiwar art, and then of his films, including a hymn to the writer Francine Prose Then I m reading sample pages of a novel by Prose on and ordering it to see what Nasdijj likes about her.Recently I heard about a new online game called Mystery at Mansfield Manor The inventor, Rory Scherer, calls it the first movie you can play It intimidated me On the Internet s open plain, I like to research a disease or a Marni coat on eBay as much as the next person, but in a rigged parlor game matching wits with Miss Marple or even Encyclopedia Brown I m usually hopeless.Fortunately, I had just the person to call Oooh, yes, I ll try it right now, she said My mother, who is 71, has also fallen for the Internet She s now hooked on the audio site Audible, which led her to, among its 3,474 mysteries and thrillers, the spellbinding audiobook of Hound of the Baskervilles, read by David Timson She plays it on an iPod and blasts his twistedly perfect English accent while she s planting tomatoes.I told her how to sign in to Mansfield Manor, where you get four days access for around 8 Then I waited a few hours and called Voicemail Suspecting she was in her trance, I relented and checked into Mansfield Manor myself Up came the intro Detective Frank Mitchell s last day on the job A blackout at HQ, and then the news that an oil tycoon has been murdered at his manor Evening wear Canadian accents Russian accents A hockey team s worth of suspects Detective Mitchell has till midnight to crack the case The video rapidly warms up, with flashbacks to the manor, where everything happens by the buttery light associated with dinner parties held by rich, haughty, murderous people Players get to decide whom to interrogate and, by cross referencing the alibis with a cool notepad tool, we must figure out who s telling the truth and who s lying.From there, it s elementary or rather, it s hard as hell I was stumped My mother, meanwhile, recruited her friends, a klatsch of Jane Tennisons with no distracting day jobs or young children, and three of them worked together After weeks of near constant forensics, they were closing in on the killer.I ve gotten nowhere with mine.We Internet users are told, as novel readers and moviegoers and television watchers used to be told, that our pastime is obscurely dangerous Immersion in art, away from the tasks of daily life, always strikes someone as unhealthful.This time around, in the digital age, the hazard of full engagement with words, music and images is called identity theft Still, what about the idea of surrendering your actual identity your name, rank and serial number in the real world to a wonderland of play in mysterious realms That also sounds like being absorbed, immersed and transported It sounds like the kind of engagement with art that we fantasize about when we buy everything from books to cable packages to satellite radio to flat screen TVs to iPod docks It sounds great.


Recent Comments "The Pleasure of Rabbit Holes"

A must read for everyone who loves getting lost in a book!


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    447 Virginia Heffernan
  • thumbnail Title: Free Read [Chick Lit Book] õ The Pleasure of Rabbit Holes - by Virginia Heffernan ↠
    Posted by:Virginia Heffernan
    Published :2018-08-14T01:23:55+00:00