Reading Roundup

October 11, 2010

When I’m not busy taking care of the family/house, writing, or providing equine spa services, I’m probably reading. It’s one of my favorite things to do and I usually have more than one (or two or three) books going at once. I just finished Dickens’ Bleak House, one of my “classic” reads for the year. I can’t remember ever reading Dickens before, and I found Bleak House absorbing, though not an easy read—and long (989 pages). I had recently watched the PBS miniseries with Gillian Anderson, so that helped keep some of the myriad characters straight in my mind. My trick for getting through long or difficult books is to commit to reading a certain number of pages per week, which allows me to keep up with the story line, but also read other things if I feel like it. I don’t like turning reading into a chore, but I also like to push myself a little in my reading choices.

While I was finishing up Bleak House, I began reading The Anthologist, by Nicholson Baker, a novel about a poet struggling to write an introduction to an anthology of poems. I enjoyed the main character’s personality, and had to smile when I read this on page 140:

“Thursday is the day of fear. On Monday you’re in great shape because you’ve got the whole week. Then Tuesday, still pretty good, still at the beginning more or less. Then Wednesday, and you’re poised, and you can accomplish much if you just apply yourself vigorously and catch up. And then, suddenly, you’re driving under that huge tattered banner, with that T and that H and that U and that frightening R and the appalling S—Thursday—and you slide down the steep slope toward the clacking shredder blades that wait on Sunday afternoon. Another whole week of your one life. Your one ‘precious life,’ as Mary Oliver says. You don’t have too many Thursdays left. There are after all only fifty-two of them in the year. Fifty-two may sound like a lot, but when Thursdays come around, fifty-two doesn’t seem like a lot at all. I just wish I had more money.” (Don’t we all?)

Another lovely book I read recently was Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put on My Pajamas and Found Happiness by Dominique Browning. Browning was the long-time editor-in-chief of House & Garden who lost her job when the magazine was abruptly shut down. Browning states, “I want to write about moving at a gentler, more loving pace in everything I do, learning to appreciate the beauty of everyday moments, the wisdom of thinking things over. I was forced to slow down when I lost my job--and the journey of grieving and recovery is what my book is about. Slow living led me to falling in love with the world, what I think of as slow love.”

Some of my favorite snippets:

“My basic decorating rule of thumb is to create as many lovely places in which to sit and read as possible. By this time in my life, I need a certain kind of chair and a certain kind of table nearby, a place on which to prop my feet, and a kind of light that suits my eyes.” (A woman after my own heart!)

“Over the years, though, I’ve learned not to worry so much about what will or won’t make it: I’m learning the ‘So what?’ lesson. So what if it fails? That doesn’t mean it was all a mistake. So what if it ends? That doesn’t mean it should never have begun.”

“‘Nothing to do’ is not the same as ‘Nothing can be done.’ One is hopeless; the other, the place from which hope becomes possible.” (You can visit Browning’s related blog at http://www.slowlovelife.com/)

What have you been reading lately? Let’s hear about what has entertained, inspired, encouraged or taught you.

As promised, Tank's "after" shot.

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4 comments

  1. Don't he look like a well-pampered fella! Not to mention much cooler.

    Right now, I'm reading Martha Beck's Finding Your Own North Star, and Gwen Diehn's Real Life Journals, Designing and Using Handmade Books.

    Both are wonderful! I'd like to have Martha as a friend and Gwen as a teacher!

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  2. Laure--I love it when I feel a connection to the author--it always makes the reading experience richer. I'll have to check "North Star" out!

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  3. He looks wonderful! From the horses I see around where I live, yours is a pampered fella. Good for you!

    I'm reading blogs! Not a good habit if it takes up all my other reading but lately that's been it.

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  4. Timaree--Oh, yes, he's a pampered fella. But he's very sweet and gentle, so it's easy to pamper him.

    I'm smiling as I read your last sentence--blog reading is its own addiction! (And thank you for reading my blog!)

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