Allie Brosh

Random Acts of Reading

March 14, 2014

Did you know it’s National Reading Month in the United States? For me, every month is reading month. As I’ve mentioned frequently (possibly far too frequently), reading is one of my favorite simple pleasures. And I’ve been doing a lot of it, as usual. I’m determined to get a handle on the number of unread books I own, so I’ve been reading primarily from my own stacks, and trying, with mixed success, to curtail book purchasing. (So far this year I’ve spent only $3.75 on books—not counting books I’ve obtained through Paperback Swap and by using a credit at my local used bookstore.)

But I digress. The point (and I do have one) is that I’ve been reading from my own stacks while simultaneously trying not to rebuild them. I’ve read 11 books out of my 36-book goal so far. I thought I’d share a few bits and pieces from this year’s reads.

The first book I read this year, What Alice Forgot, was so delightful that I kept it in my library instead of passing it on. Alice Love thinks she’s 29 and pregnant with her first child when she regains consciousness after a fall at the gym. Turns out, she’s actually 39, the mother of three and about to be divorced. What happened during that missing 10 years? This book was fun to read, and also thought provoking: Is your life what you expected it to be 10 years ago?  

Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, was my first classic of the year. I had never read anything by this writer, and wasn’t sure what to expect. I enjoyed this book very much. Set in Florida, it follows Janie Crawford’s search for real love and her true self, and isn’t that what we’re all looking for? A tiny teaser:

“She was a rut in the road. Plenty of life beneath the surface but it was kept beaten down by the wheels….mostly she lived between her hat and her heels, with her emotional disturbances like shade patterns in the woods—come and gone with the sun.”

Interesting fact: Hurston wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God in only seven weeks!

Take the Cannoli, a book of essays by Sarah Vowell, was an impulse buy at my library’s book store. I’d read one other book by Vowell, who is also a contributor to radio’s “This American Life,” and I love her quirky writing voice. One of my favorite passages from Cannoli:

“Heaven, such as it is, is right here on earth. Behold: my revelation: I stand at the door in the morning, and lo, there is a newspaper, in sight like unto an emerald. And holy, holy is the coffee, which was, and is to come. And hark, I hear the voice of an angel round about the radio, saying, ‘Since my baby left me I found a new place to dwell.’ And lo, after this I beheld a great multitude, which no man could number, of shoes….”

(And speaking of “voice,” I just learned that Vowell was the voice of Violet in one of my favorite animated movies, The Incredibles.)

Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh, was a library book, I admit, but I couldn’t resist it. Brosh can make me laugh till I cry. The book contains original material, but some of it can be found on her blog. Check out these posts, also found in the book, for a taste of Brosh’s humor: “Dogs Don’t Understand the Basic Concept of Moving” or “The Party”.

What have you been reading? Any new discoveries?