Reading, at its basest, is simply a visual chore. This is perhaps why I drunk read sometimes. This is when I get too inebriated then I see my phone (or rarely, a book) and open up a text and read without understanding anything or remembering anything the morning after, thus, reading only for the pleasure of running words through my eyes, perhaps not so different from listening to music or letting a film run in my face while sleeping.
It is different from drunk surfing, because surfing requires engagement which I think somehow counteracts the effects of alcohol. You can drunk read texts from the internet though, given that you have the intention of reading it until you pass out or sleep.
Drunk reading is a weird form of reading because it is superficial and totally shallow, in the sense that the act of reading becomes less of an engagement between the text and the reader’s conscious subjective self and more of a hedonistic consumption of words. I do not want to dwell on the theory of it all, but it seems to me that the appeal of drunk reading lies in how it allows the reader to experience words as words, without its mental or emotional baggage (or at least, such baggage remains within the realm of the unconscious, especially when one is really drunk).
I’ve had lots of experience with drunk reading so I guess I can give some insights on what texts are great for drunk reading. Of course, you can share suggestions in the comments section.
- Anything that deals with food. Katherine Larson’s poetry has a strong tendency towards seafood, so I figured it would be great to read cookbooks. I tried reading random cookbooks from the internet and drunk read them.
- Thomas Pynchon. Pynchon’s ‘maximalist’ fiction overwhelms the senses, so reading them drunk feels ‘colorful’, or at least that is how I remember it. The huge variety of lexicons is enjoyable. You can substitute any writer who uses a lot of weird words, like Joyce or Foster Wallace perhaps.
- Nature books. You can start with selections from classics such as Henry Beston’s The Outermost House, Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at the Tinker Creek, or just about any text which describes nature. ‘Philosophical’ musings about nature are not counted however, since these are boring and would not make sense when you’re really drunk.
- Works well when the lights are low.
- Biology or technical medical texts, especially those that deal with diseases. Dunno why, works for me.
Things to avoid:
- Erotica or porn.
- Mushy stuff. Think Thought Catalog or Lang Leav. Would work for some I suppose, but not for me.
- Theory or anything serious or abstract.