Welcome to “Marginal Interests,” a series highlighting the varied reading habits of the local comp community. This month, Greg Hubachek of Workers’ Compensation LLC, a firm representing injured workers, shared his perspective on the classics, what makes a classic, and the role reading plays in everyday writing.
Comp Blog: What’s the best book you’ve read recently and what spoke to you about it?
Hubachek: Hollywood by Charles Bukowski. The novel is an interesting perspective on how an artist comes to terms with his exponentially increasing fame and the capitalists who seek to profit from it. The book provides you with the artist’s thoughts on the changes in his life – and art – which result from his fame. Moreover, the book explains how the artist remains grounded in who he really is, rather than whom he is perceived to be by the public. I was surprised by how calmly the artist managed the chaos of his life and remained productive.
Comp Blog: What’s your favorite book of all time? Why?
Hubachek: The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies [Fifth Business, The Manticore, World of Wonders]. First, all of Davies’ work is beautifully written. Specifically, The Deptford Trilogy is a complex, fictional study of Jungian psychology with interesting historical references and sociological themes. In addition, there were threads of both myth and magic woven into the storyline which kept this reader’s interest. I read these novels when I was a law student and have never forgotten how captivating they were.
Comp Blog: Any favorite literary characters either from childhood or now?
Hubachek: My favorite literary “character” is Mark Twain. As children, many of us were initially exposed to Twain by animated versions of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Most high school students of the 1970s were formally introduced to Twain by reading Huckleberry Finn.
When I left for college, I was an avid reader of Twain and, during college, I read both Life on the Mississippi and Roughing It. These two books exposed me to Twain as a literary character. Twain’s observations on American life and the cultural icons of his time demonstrated the depth of Twain’s wisdom and humor, as well as his literary skill.
Comp Blog: Who is your favorite author right now?
Hubachek: My reading list is largely confined to classic literature. Accordingly, my “favorite author” at any specific point in time is often someone who has long since passed. In any event, as it pertains to the living, I find the humorist Greg Gutfeld to be incredibly gifted. I hope that one day he retires from the FOX Network and embarks upon a serious literary endeavor. If Gutfeld takes that challenge, I suspect that the product would be both prodigious and seriously funny.
Comp Blog: What genres do you gravitate to the most?
Hubachek: I gravitate to classic literature, both fiction and non-fiction. I must confess, however, that I have a very broad definition of “classic.” In my opinion, classic literature includes Joseph Conrad, Charles Bukowski, William Faulkner and Kurt Vonnegut. As a reader, I want to be both entertained and educated. Usually, I’ll identify a prolific author of some substance and investigate whether any of his or her works address any interests of mine.
Comp Blog: What’s your book collection like (paper or digital, organized or chaotic, etc.)?
Hubachek: My book collection is exclusively hardcover and paperback. Generally, I’m tech-averse due to a serious lack of comfort and familiarity.
Comp Blog: Any favorite book stores you’ve encountered?
Hubachek: I like used book stores. I find a sense of devotion to fine art in a good used book store. In an attempt to lead a low-impact life, I make every attempt to re-use and re-purpose and, therefore, used book stores blend with my lifestyle in many ways.
Comp Blog: How do you think reading benefits personal or professional life?
Hubachek: The benefits of reading that I find in my professional life are manifested in improved writing skills. Skilled authors demonstrate how one can clearly express a thought or explain circumstances to the reader while also keeping the reader’s interest in the subject matter.