The Joyful Dangers of Editing Nonfiction

For the most part, I edit scholarly nonfiction. Which means I end up reading lots of stuff I never would have otherwise encountered.

Anthropological explorations of tour guides’ experiences in exotic locales. Analyses of ancient Greek philosophies. An interview with the former prime minister of Ukraine about her experience of gender relations.

Right now I am working on a series of chapters on prominent atheists from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In only a few days I have learned new things about Mark Twain, H. P. Lovecraft, H. L. Mencken, Nietzsche, and many others.

The danger of this is that now I have overwhelming cravings to read far more than I have time for. Gore Vidal’s novels, Twain’s essays, Lovecraft’s short stories are all calling to me, calling with the siren song of something new and different.

But there is just no time.


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