Monday, 23 February 2009

"What do you read, my lord?" "Words, words, words."

If it's Tuesday, this must be This Week in Bookland.

The observant reader will note I have minimized the size of my Shelfari bookshelf. This is not because I am reading any less or that the Big Damn Stack o'Books has shrunk. Fear not! I just decided to do a little blog revamping and this is one of my experiments. I am allowing myself only six books to post per week on the shelf: two fiction, three non-fiction, and one read-aloud. Restricting my choices is actually quite difficult but I'm hoping the streamlined look will help the page load more quickly.

Read Aloud
Giuli and I are still working on Inkheart. It is hard to make the time for this book, not because we aren't interested, but because she and I seem to both want to knit whilst someone reads to us. Perhaps we should enlist Mary as a Designated Reader so we can get moving along at a quicker pace. Giuli can't wait until we finally meet Capricorn as she already visualizes him as Andy Sirkis although we have yet to see the movie.

I am still trudging through The Lies of Locke Lamora. I say "trudging" only due to my reserving this book for my bedtime reading. Some nights I actually crash after a page or two, so I feel as though I will never finish this 719-page tome. In all fairness, I should probably set aside a better time for more conscious reading.

I'm "fixin' to" read The Road by Cormac McCarthy this week. Weighing in at 287 pages with an awful lot of white space per page, I'm predicting it will move quickly. This book was reviewed on one of the dozen or so book blogs that I read - bad blogger that I am, however, I forgot to note which one. But, now that I have a more organized method to my blogging madness, I hope to be much better about this in the future.

Ah, non-fiction! I allow myself three books in this category because I usually don't have to follow a plotline or remember characters so I can spread my interests around a bit more liberally.

First, I'm about halfway through The Magician's Book. This is a collection of essays by critic Laura Miller, who appears to have a love/hate relationship with C. S. Lewis and his Chronicles of Narnia. While I don't always agree with her viewpoints, I am definitely learning a good deal more about Lewis' life, particularly his childhood. I have another similar volume lurking on my to-read list which I will divulge next week so stay tuned.

Alan Watts is not often easy for me to grasp, but I am still amazed that the tiny book, The Wisdom of Insecurity, is taking me so long to finish. I am, however, over halfway along and occasionally a little light bulb goes off in my head when something actually "clicks". One of those moments occured recently when I read this passage:

"Can you, at the same time, read this sentence and think about yourself reading it? You will find that, to think about yourself reading it, you must for a brief second stop reading. The first experience is reading. The second experience is the thought, 'I am reading.' Can you find any thinker, who is thinking the thought, 'I am reading?' In other words, when present experience is the thought, 'I am reading,' can you think about yourself thinking this thought?

Once again, you must stop thinking just, 'I am reading.' You pass to a third experience, which is the thought, 'I am thinking that I am reading.' Do not let the rapidity with which these thoughts can change deceive you into the feeling that you think them all at once."

The lightbulb turned on and I proceeded to tell Paul that I couldn't ever really say "I'm reading" because I wouldn't actually be reading as I said it so I would just be saying that I was reading but that would not be true because...well...nevermind.

The third book of non-fiction is Book by Book by Michael Dirda. In his Preface, Dirda explains his time as a book reviewer and columnist for the Washington Post Book World.

"During these past three decades the Post has kindly allowed me to write about nearly any sort of book that caught my fancy, and my fancy can be quite promiscuous -- ancient classics one week, science fiction and fantasy the next."

What bookworm wouldn't love a job like that? And, since I definitely fall into that category, this book struck my fancy when I read the back cover blurb, which states "...the wit, wisdom, and enchantment of the written word informs and enriches nearly every aspect of life, from education and work to love and death." With a Who's Who reaching from Charles Addams to Stefan Zweig, Dirda shares what he has learned about life from his reading. I recently began compiling a never-ending list of classic books I want to read, and I am sure I will find many titles to add whilst devouring this little gem.

One more thing, I nearly forgot that today I began listening to Pride and Prejudice on the Craftlit podcast. The A&E version from 1995 with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle is a favourite of mine but I have never read the book. So, I shall be knitting along to Jane Austen whenever I can.

That wraps up this week's reading. Please don't forget to leave your comments! And check back in on Wednesday for another topic in my revamped weekly lineup.


Anonymous said...

719 pages???

For serious?

Are they counting pages with prime numbers instead of a properly numerical order? (wouldn't that be a trip?)

I don't remember my copy being so long. Not at all. Is it the same book I recommended to you?

Also; mmmm, Colin Firth. RainH20 got me into that miniseries when I came down with the "2x4 To The Back of The Head Flu" in Flat Rock.

Pretentious Wombat said...

Yes, this is one and the same book that you recommended and, good lord, it is that long. I looked it up whilst writing that blog. You could use it as a weapon if it came in hardback.

I have listened to three episodes so far and am on chapter 9. It's actually going pretty well - I'm knitting on that scarf and listening and occasionally plurking or reading a blog...yet still listening. I think I sort of like it. But I totally picture Colin Firth. Yum.

Beverly said...

I don't read nearly as much as I used to and the quality of what I do read leaves much to be desired. Thank you for reminding me of the CraftLit podcasts. I love those!