So? What are you reading?

Books!
Books!

I’ve been so busy with work, personal drama and the garden that I haven’t been reading much. Since books are a great passion of mine, not reading creates a hole in my personal well-being which must be corrected – and soon.

Books, books, and more books.
Books and more books.

I joke that the only thing holding up the barn is my books and bookshelves. At one time, I could brag that I had read every book in the house except for the few in the unread pile next to my bed.

Between the craziness of my life and the fact that I now have a Significant Other who reads even more than I do (and passes his books on to me), I now have, at minimum, 200 unread books in this house. I have one whole bookcase dedicated to the unread, but now they’re spilling over. I’m also pretty sure there’s a passel of unread books in the nook under the stairs that I can’t get to because of the painting supply debris blocking access.

It’s crazy. And I love it.

Beverly Cleary’s Beezus and Ramona and Henry Huggins series were the first books that really rocked my world. However, it was Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy that lit the fire of a passion for good literature.

Current reading.
Current reading.

My preferred book is fiction, but in the past few years I’ve developed an appreciation for nonfiction. Whatever it is I’m reading, it must show proper respect for the power and beauty of words. No matter how interesting the subject, if it’s not written well, I don’t have the patience to read it.

I read to get lost in the dance of well-chosen words creating worlds of ideas. I do read some pop-lit, but only if the writer is a gifted story teller – King and Grisham, for instance. [Actually, King is a better writer than he gets credit for. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it. Lisey’s Story is a thing of beauty as is The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon.]

The past few years, I’ve gone on genre jags. For awhile it was the “quirky” writers – Tom Robbins, Vonnegut, Christopher Moore, Jeannette Winterson. Then it was world literature – writers from Latin America, India, Russia, etc. A couple of summers ago, I completely devoured Susan Howatch’s Church of England series. Right now, I’m mixing it up.

Bed books.
Bed books.

I’ve got 4 books going at the moment, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s biography, a Paul Auster novel, some nonfiction about writer’s block and creativity, and essays on women writers and their dogs.

Those 4 books have been on my nightstand for more than a month. Normally, they would have been devoured in about a week.

The unread bookcase contains a plethora of marvelous stories – I know this because most of them have been pre-screened by HMOKeefe. For the most part, we agree on what constitutes a good book, but true to his gender, he tends to wax rhapsodic about some truly bad stuff (Moby Dick, for example).

I imagine myself sprawled in the garden with a book, a glass of iced tea, and the lazy drone of bees – a recreation of my childhood out-of-school summers when I could finally read as much as I wanted to without the annoying interruption of school. Please, please, let it be so. (Yes, I will have the annoying interruption of work, but some things can’t be avoided.)

Two of my favorite things - Chef Boy 'R Mine and books.
Two of my favorite things –
Chef Boy ‘R Mine and books.

I love talking about books and the ideas they hold.  I can drone on and on and on about a book.  Once I get going it’s nigh unto impossible to get me to shut up.  Moreover, I also think it’s appropriate given my love of them that I use them as the bedrock for home decoration.  They’re everywhere (except bathrooms) in bookcases, in stacks, on the floor, on tables, tucked under stairs, next to the exercise bike.  Everywhere.  And I do read them.

So? What are you reading?

15 thoughts on “So? What are you reading?

  1. Ah, Beverly Cleary was who got me started as well followed by E. L. Konigsburg. And years later my kids fell in love with them as well.

    I also go through jags, from murder mysteries (Ian Rankin and Henning Mankell above all others) to good chick lit to back to my 19th Century British authors and favorites, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and Anthony Trollope (I am just finishing up ‘Miss Mackenzie’. I also read food related memoirs or food histories (from Waverly Root to Ruth Reichl) and some non-fiction like Jessica Mitford, Primo Levi, Alexander Stille.

    Husband is much more high brow and reads history and travel books, books on flora and fauna, typography and language, biographies and cultural history books, just to name a few.

  2. It is probably easier to tell you what I am NOT reading. And Moby Dick IS a fabulous story. I am currently finishing up “The Last Secret of the Temple” by Paul Sussman, a story of a discovery that could completely transform the Middle East. I finished reading “The Fat Man and Infinity” by Antonio Lobo Antunes a couple of days ago. This was a wonderful series of writings detailing his life. I have just started Albert Hourani’s magnum opus, “A History of the Arab Peoples.” This is a very well written social, religious and political history of a remarkable people. My next bed book will be Lisey’s Story. I am looking forward to some good literary King.

    Did you know that they now have trailers for new books?? I just learned of it recently and was completely shocked. They turn these books into movies before the book is even published…astonishing!

  3. HA! I’m reading Moby Dick also right now. Haven’t read it since HS. I couldn’t find any Patrick O’Brian that I hadn’t read at the local bookmart so I picked up MobyDick along with a book about the back country battles of the Revolutionary War in So. Carolina.
    Funny aside, read a DH Lawrence review of MD and he said Melville probably didn’t know what the white whale represented.
    I just picked up two new Patrick O’Brian books that are NOT part of the Aubrey/Maturin series while here in Columbus and will have three new Aubry/Maturin O’Brians waiting for me when I get home (14,15,16).
    Sometime next week I’ll have at least three books in process. Right now I’ve got two.

    LMAO at the Ulysses next to the bed. Do you read it and reread it? I once had an Irish lit. scholar tell me she kept it by her bed and when she finished it she read it again. . . over and over.
    I like Joyce, but never made it through Ulysses.

  4. I just read (on a plane) “Naomi & Eli’s No Kiss List” by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan (authors of “Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist”). Ideal airplane or beach reading — lightweight (literally), fluffy, but pretty well-written.

    I also just read “How to Say Goodbye in Robot” by Natalie Standiford — a fun story about the friendship between offbeat High Schoolers.

  5. I cannot believe you mentioned King’s “…Tom Gordon”! We are kindred spirits.

    I was raving about that just a new weeks ago, and bought it for my mother to illustrate a modern take on American naturalism. Love, love, love that book.

  6. Now I know you’re kidding. I’ve got size 10s with piano-playing toes and fallen arches. With that said, I got tired of hating my feet some years ago and began indulging in pedicures and toe rings. We have a nice relationship now.

  7. I don’t think I have a book ‘going’. I have started A Course In Miracles a number of times but didn’t have the discipline to keep up with a daily practice even though the book is right by my bed. There’s Wealth 101 with the cool quotes on the porch that rarely gets opened and my The Power of Creative Dreaming book has a painting on the cover “Dolce Far Niente,” a 1904 oil on canvas by John William Godward that used to be wallpaper on my computer. It’s so beautiful I just like to look at it (not sure which museum it’s in but I’d love a nice print). Under that is Pencil Dancing: New ways to free your creative spirit, by Mari Messer and under that one is Cut the Clutter and Stow the Stuff. As you can see, I have good intentions but even though the spirit is willing… But I do read, hours a day, just not books much anymore.

    • I still read books and, uncharacteristically, am reading a fair amount of nonfiction these days including some self-help. The latter amuse me. They’re pretty much all the same, the titles change. I just picked up Laura Day’s Welcome to Your Crisis. I can sum it up in one sentence – When the universe drops a load of crap on you, look for the pony.

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