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.
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.
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.
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.)
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?