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Michael Ian Black

Falling Back in Love with Reading

Last year I realized that law school sucked my love of reading out of me. I had to read so much for my classes that the last thing I wanted to during my down time was read for pleasure. At the end of the day the most I’d read was Texts From Last Night. After the bar exam my brain was so fried I couldn’t read anything for two days.

I <3 2 read by katerha from Flickr

I <3 2 read by katerha from Flickr

Now, I come from a family of voracious readers, so it’s weird that I barely read anything for years for my own enjoyment. I used to devour books. I made the decision at the end of last year to make reading a priority – and it’s been heavenly.

My goal this year is to read 2 books a month – one for fun and one for business. It’s hard to make myself read the business books, but the books for fun have been absolutely wonderful. I flop into bed every night and tell myself that I’m going to read 10 pages from my book, and I usually end up reading closer to 20. I read until I’m so tired that the words on the page are blurry.

I love to read nonfiction work. There’s something about reading about a person’s real life that is gripping. When I read nonfiction, I’m way more likely to remember it because it’s real. I forget big chunks of the fiction books I read and I think it’s because my brain knows the story isn’t real, so why bother remembering it. I recently read Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A modest bestiary by David Sedaris. I love David Sedaris’ work so when I saw he had a book out that I hadn’t read, I checked it out from the library without looking beyond the front cover. It turned out to be a collection of short fictional stories about animals. I read the book (It didn’t do anything for me – sorry David) and each night I picked it up, I couldn’t remember what I had read the night before – it just wasn’t important enough to remember.

I rarely buy books that I know I’m going to read once unless I know the author, so I’ve been loving the Phoenix Public Library this year. I took suggestions from my friends and my virtual bookshelf is up to 68 books that I want to read. The first book I checked out was Anderson Cooper’s Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival. It was fantastic! Right now I’m reading You’re Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations by Michael Ian Black and I’m loving it. I’m looking forward to trying out the library’s ebook borrowing program so I can get library books on my Kindle. The library has a great system where you can put a book on hold and it will be waiting for you on the first floor with your name on it, but getting books without having to leave the house is even better.

Reading is still a chore for me to get started each time but I’m so grateful to be reading books again. I’m looking forward to reading Heads in Beds: a reckless memoir of hotels, hustles, and so-called hospitality by Jacob Tomsky; Argo: how the CIA and Hollywood pulled off the most audacious rescue in history by Antonio Mendez; and I Killed: true stories of the road from America’s top comics by Ritch Shydner and Mark Schiff.

Undeniable Recap of 2012

Ruth Carter, ABA Legal Rebel

Photo by Don McPhee Photography

It’s been an incredible year! Looking back, so much has changed and so many wonderful things have happened for me this year – personally and professionally. I never could have predicted so many good things happening. Of course, I didn’t get here alone and I want to thank all the friends, family, and colleagues who helped make this year fan-fucking-tastic. It was hard to pick the top five events from this year, but here you go!

1.  Carter Law Firm Opened!  I opened my own law practice on January 4, 2012 and I’m happy to report that I’m still in business and haven’t been disbarred. It’s been an amazing year creating and building my own business with all the trials and tribulations that go along with that. I love my work and I’m so lucky that I get to build the professional life I’ve always wanted as the approachable geeky lawyer who wears t-shirts and does awesome work. I love that I’m building my niches in social media and flash mob law and being invited to do things like speak at major conferences.

ruthcover smaller2.  My First Book  I wrote and self-published The Legal Side of Blogging: How Not to get Sued, Fired, Arrested, or Killed. I’ve always wanted to write a book and all the pieces fell into place to make it happen. The book has been well received so far and appears to be opening the door for more books. Special hat tip to ePublish Unum for teaching me everything I know about self-publishing.

3.  ABA Legal Rebel  I’ve always looked up to the American Bar Association Legal Rebels, but in my wildest dreams I did not expect to be picked to join this illustrious group only months after becoming a lawyer. I’m tickled that they chose me because of my work in flash mob law.

Rosie!

Rosie!

4.  I Got A Dog!  Adopting Rosie from the Arizona Basset Hound Rescue was probably the biggest life changing event of this year. It had been years since I had a pet and because of her we go walking every day and I’m on a more structured schedule. She can melt my heart with one look and it was so hard to leave her at the kennel for a few days. I love the way she looks when she runs and how she howls at the phone.

5.  Half Marathon Personal Record  This may seem petty, but it was a big deal to me to finish the race under two hours. I was blown away when I heard I finished the race in 1:52. I’d never run that hard for so long before. It was a great experience to do so well.

 

Celebrity Encounters in 2012

 

Firsts in 2012

  • handstand bean1st trip to Chicago where I leave the airport – included my 1st ride on the L Train and my 1st visit to Cloud Gate (The Bean)
  • 1st trip to the Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Bought my 1st Powerball ticket
  • 1st time using Survey Monkey and Mail Chimp
  • 1st time at Phoenix Comicon
  • 1st time owning a pet that wasn’t formerly a family pet
  • 1st business trip to San Francisco
  • Sent my 1st DMCA Takedown Notice
  • Put up my 1st yarn bomb
  • 1st trip to the ABA TechShow
  • 1st YouTube channel

In Memorium

  • Peg Grucky
  • David Malcolm

This has been an incredible year. I’m excited for what’s to come next!