Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Constellation

In a comment to my last post, Andrea asked, innocently enough, what I was reading. Brace yourself girl, 'cos  first I'm gonna freak out and talk at length about reading itself. In case it isn't plainly obvious, reading habits are a fascinating topic to me.

People cope with the little (or big!) stresses of everyday life differently. Some (like say my husband) take naps, others watch TV, some enterprising souls exercise, while others do crafts, some drink, some cook, some eat...I read. Regardless of what's actually going on in my life, reading is the one constant activity I engage in, but when there's a lot of external fuss, reading is my go-to place, that one square foot of private head-space, the therapy session, the ten-minute vacation.

I've always been what some people might call a prolific  intensely focused, single-minded reader. I read a lot and I read fast and I read multiple books at the same time.

My reading frenzy culminated sometime in my mid-twenties during a time when I was semi-unemployed/ working from home, before having internet, or a TV, or any money to do anything else at all. Back then, I was reading about a book a day, sometimes two, or even three. What little spare money I had, I spent on fruits, buns, tea and library reservation fees. I was in heaven.

Even now, with my relatively busy life, I read about 50-70 books a year, a number that seems sadly low to my old self, but pretty durn high considering that reading is no longer my sole focus.

As previously established, I'm a pretty introverted person. For a long time, one of the ways I used to cope with social anxiety, and social situations in general, was that I brought a book everywhere. School, parties, work, trains, plains, buses, government offices. In middle school I routinely read while walking. And I walked everywhere. Once I even got detention for getting caught reading under my desk during class. That I got caught only that one time is even more astonishing than that a supposedly educational institution would punish a child for such an activity. Not that it deterred me. In junior high I got into trouble for skipping class to go to the library.

The other secret to my prolific reading habit is, that I'm, for the lack of a better word, a speed reader. I'm dyslexic, but having learned to love books from an early age, I somehow managed to teach myself to read anyway, and as apparently often happens to dyslexic people who do learn to read, I don't actually read words, but rather look at the whole sentences, paragraphs, or even half the page, depending on the typeface and the size of a page. At my peak, I could read up to 170 pages an hour, in Finnish, but in English my top speed is around 90-100 pages an hour.

For the first twenty years of my life as a reader, I read almost exclusively fiction. My mother started me early on really good kids books, and let me read any book I wanted to, which got me to reading "grown-up" literature almost as soon as I learned to how to.

In the last seven years however, my priorities have shifted and I now read more non-fiction than fiction.  Environmental, political and nature-writing particularly have been my mainstays in the last few years. I also read a lot more of how-to books, self-care books and even the occasional book on religion. My mother used to say that at a pinch I'd read the milk carton, and there is almost no book I won't read if it happens to be laying around, but as a rule, I don't read self-help, and try to stay away from memoirs and genre-fiction (for reasons we might talk about later, or maybe in the comments if lovers of these genres of literature appear), with a few notable exceptions.

Which brings us to my current book pile. Andrea will be happy to know that, I'm reading two books on Ayurveda, as well as a complimentary herbal, which I must admit, I'm more leafing through looking for the herbs that catch me. Ayurveda and herbalism are the two things I'm finding most helpful in my life right now and I feel like these interests, like these books complement each other really well. I'm also reading about women healers through out history, with lovely images depicting women administering herbs, delivering babies and doing witchy, wonderful things.

My sister just borrowed my best self-care read so far this fall, recommended to me by a reader of Mary's : Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life, by Dr. Claudia Welch. I would this book recommend to any and all women interested in self-care. While I found it to be a little simplistic, I also found the information about the relationship between sex hormones and stress hormones illuminating and really interesting. I can't recommend this book enough and have recommended it to any women friends of mine that I think would benefit from it.

I'm also reading Anne Lamott's wonderful writing guide Bird By Bird again, every morning before sitting down and actually writing. I say again, because I often re-read things I've read before. In fact there are some books I've read tens of times, or read once a year, simply because they are so well-crafted, moving, or intelligent.

A writer friend once told me that she likes almost everything she reads, and I remember being deeply envious of that wonderful trait, because I'm quite the opposite. I'm very particular about the books I read and most books, especially fiction, though entertaining, or amusing, simply don't pass into the "like"-territory, let alone the echelons of "love". Books I truly care about are few and far between, so when in doubt, I re-read an old favorite.

And while I'm listing all of my weird quirks about reading, I might as well add that no matter how much I loathe a book I'm reading, I can count books I've left unfinished with my fingers and maybe toes. As petty as it sounds, I'll finish a book, even if it's just to be able declare it worthless. I believe the term is "out of spite"?

On my non-fiction reading list right now, is a book my friend Ronni thrust upon me at The Dump a couple weeks ago, thereby showing how shockingly well she knows me. John Pierson's Spike Mike Slackers & Dykes covers and era of independent cinema that I grew up with, features all of your (my) favorite 90s auteurs and oddball DYI filmmakers in painful, gossipy detail and I highly recommend it to any indie movie buff. That means you and Darin, Heather.

At the complete opposite end of the spectrum is Jeremy Scahill's magnum opus Dirty Wars, a book so   intense and, at 700 pages, so heavy, that one can only read about five pages at a time. C. likes to point out that it's oddly morbid that my idea of a good time, or at least a relaxing night in, usually involves something like a cup of tea, a grapefruit and Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine and he's not wrong. For whatever reason intense, depressing books don't get me down, they get me fired up. I guess I'd rather know what's really going on. If you're in the same club, I highly recommend Scahill. It also works for an abs and biceps work out if you're reading laying down...

Actually, I really recommend a little Scahill, mixed with a few pages of Molly Ivins' The Bill Of Wrongs. Like Scahill, Ivins will make you pretty fired up, but interspersed with bouts of trying to laugh quietly inside your mouth so as not to wake your co-sleeper.

My main fiction book right now is Anthony Marra's A Constellation of Vital Phenomenon. Yet another reading quirk of mine is that, for years, I only read fiction by women. Sometime around the age of twenty-four, I decided that since I had had the male literary canon showed down my throat at every turn  my whole life and that since unlike in film (for reasons I could go on and on about for days) there actually was a plethora of interesting female authors to choose from, I would only read the works of women from there on out. Mostly I've held onto that principle and it has introduced me some truly wonderful obscure female writers, as well as discovering early on some of the most promising young women in literature and learning to love classic works by the luminaries.

 However, when Mr. Right comes along, I don't exactly say no to him on principle, and Marra, most certainly is Mr. Right for me. His subject matter is the war in Chechnya, his language flawless, and his obsession with this obscure place on earth, something we share, absolute. From the moment I first heard about this book I've been trying to get my hands on it and now that I have, I like to read it in small, careful increments.

Speaking of which, I'm going to go and read some more. But tell me, what do you read, where and why and how?

edit: it was pointed out to me by a reader that I made some unfortunate word choices in this post so I have edited out using the word "autistically" as a description of single-minded focus. I then went ahead on my own accord and edited out using words for crazy as adjectives for the same thing as well. These are corrections I probably and hopefully would have come to on my own if I'd spent any time editing this piece. Sometimes this happens, I rush, ef up and learn. Feel free to call me out if you feel like I need a lesson. Thanks Ari!


  1. I've always loved reading, and like you I've moved slowly from preferring fiction to non-fiction.. but I've been having this problem for a few years now that disturbs my ability to read as an escape from everyday hassles: I get so excited about what I'm reading that I have to get up and physically move around. Feel free to LOL. So I cut out caffeine, wore myself out BEFORE reading, tried reading at different times of the day (just after waking was best, but that's a whole other comment), read in different places, including outdoors (my favourite, and that helped), meditated before reading, but no, I still have to get up every other chapter and wander about in a twitch of ideas. Which I enjoy, but I miss the out-of-body escapism of reading.. so I'm still searching for the cure.

  2. I am an avid reader, but unlike you, a complete extrovert. I find that I mostly read when I don't have people around so that i can continue to be surrounded with humanity, emotion, love. As my life has gotten busier and filled with more people, specifically three children, I don't read as often because my need to connect has lessened. Because I mostly want to connect to characters, I am definitely a fiction reader first and foremost, but as I've gotten older, I enjoy non-fiction more and more. i like to read about alternative motherhood/ child rearing practices/ philosophies, and socio-pop. Even though fiction is my mainstay, I feel like several non-fictions have impacted my life the most drastically.
    And bird by Bird remains one of my favorites. I think I'm going to need to re-read that sooner rather than later.

  3. Tämän päivän hankinta: Siv Hellgren/Alla tidens huskurer. -Goda råd från gamla tider, mormors dagar och idag. (Suom. Annukka Kolehmainen/Isoäidin rohdot. -Vanhanajan ohjeita ja nykypäivän neuvoja.)
    Pikkuinen kirja, joka kertoo mm. miten valmistetaan "Lillyn flunssateetä", leskenlehdistä, islanninjäkälästä ja lakritsijuuresta :). Olen lumoutunut.
    Oon kausilukija. Sekä totaalinen "fakki". Jumahdan aiheisiin, kirjailihoihin, jopa tiettyihin sanoihin.. On ollut elämänvaiheita kun lukeminen on auttanut yli vaikeista ajoista, paremmin kuin ihmiset. Sitten on aikoja kun on jotenkin niin "herkillä", ettei voi lukea kuin tiukkaa asiaa: sanomalehtiä jne, pieninä annoksina. Tietyissä tilanteissa lukemiseen (fiktioon) uppoaminen aiheuttaa mulle haitallista sisäänpäinkääntyneisyyttä. ja migreeni rajoittaa lukemisen määrää (mun on tosi vaikea jättää lukemista vain muutamaan sivuun, menee helposti koko yö...ja sitten seuraava päivä pilalle.
    Lukioikäisenä kävelin kouluun maantien laitaa -se on kuulemma vaarallista kun on nenä kiinni kirjassa... Mutta mulla kyllä oli toisenlaisia opettajia, ne antoi mun ihan rauhassa lukea omaa kirjaa tunneilla!
    Muuten oon kyllä ehdottomasti fiktiotyttö, runotyttö. Pää pilvissä ja jalat maassa. Kohtalokas oli elämänvaihe kun olin töissä kirjakaupassa ;).
    Ja joo, naiskirjailijoita. Francoise Sagan, Monika Fagerholm, Siri Hustvedt, Tove Jansson, Edith södergrann, Aale Tynni... Niitä on niin paljon.
    Ja sellaisia joita voi lukea jos on paha mieli; Fedja setä, kissa ja koira, Ronja Ryövärintytär, Muumit.

    Hyvä kun kirjoitit tästä. Ja saat mun pyyteettömän ihailuni, kun onnistuit pitämään postauksesi noinkin suppeana ;). Tästä kommentistakin tulis niiin helposti huomattavasti pidempi. Aihe on sellainen!
    Ja sai mut ajattelemaan, että pitäisi lukea enemmän, löytää sille jostain aikaa...

  4. Oh I love memoirs, especially travel/expat memoirs! I think it's the 'living vicariously' thing since I don't get to travel much. I also never really read non fiction until my 20's and now I usually have one non fiction (often food security related/memoir/spiritual) and one fiction going (this varies - mostly best seller type books but not 'chick lit' which annoys me). Oh and I always have an academic type book going as well for my counselling degree (addiction or psychology books). P.S. I'm so glad to see your posts back in my blog feed!

  5. I love this post! Thanks for sharing your current reads :) That Vasant Lad book has been my medical bible the last three years. I've read extensively on the subject, some books delve more into the spiritual elements of Ayurveda, but I have found that one the most comprehensive & user friendly--and I have had great success with Ayurveda in general. I just wish I had a lovely little Indian granny who would have kitcharis, unleavened chapatis, and warmed chai waiting for me on the stove when I got home :)

    Funny your reading habits remind me so much of my husband. He does the exact same thing with books--bringing them everywhere he goes. I've even known him to exit a social situation to go read off alone somewhere. Sometimes he isn't even reading "fun" books-- he's reading Heidegger or Foucault (my homeboy, no doubt-- but definitely not a cup of tea, relaxing read). Your comment about only reading female authors really resonates with me. I have read male authors in the past few years, but I tend to gravitate more toward women as well. I just don't make the same connections to male authors. I don't know why. In the past few years, I've yearned only for fiction -- after 10+ years in grad school having only time for reading historical monographs & journal articles, I appreciate the relief that fiction gives me from the real world and its myriad problems (past & present). I also feel behind on the world of fiction. I didn't get to take many literature courses-- I was very intensely focused on history for so long. I am definitely going to add the novel by Marra to my "to read" list.

  6. Fun post! I wasn't much of a reader as a child and only read when I had to for school. Around 20 I decided that I should start reading. At the time we lived with my sister in law who is a huge sci-fi, thriller fan, so for that first year I read what books she had which was a lot of Stephen King and Dean Kootz. After having major nightmares from "IT" I decided to switch genres. For the last ten years I have read mostly classics which I've absolutely loved. This week I finished "Into The Wild" which I enjoyed quite a bit. I also have a large stack of books I've yet to finish. I'll usually have several books going at the same time and a spiritual book is always in my stack.

    Having 4 children makes reading somewhat of a challenge but I'm determined to continue regardless. If I get an hour alone at night (this doesn't happen often) I will typically read. Unlike you, I will put down a book that I've lost interest in or don't like. I feel like my time is too precious and I'd rather move on to something else. Also, I am a very slow reader. So finishing a book takes me quite a while. I read every single word individually. This bums me out but I've come to accept it.

  7. i love reading, too. and i do that thing! looking at whole sentences, etc. "speed reading" i guess. it's just how my brain works. it's funny if i love love love a book, my brain will try to scoop up larger and larger chunks of text at a time, like shoving too much food in one's mouth, and i have to take a breath and remember to enjoy the process.

    i miss you. will you email me? want to do a book swap with me or something? i'll email you. i've been meaning to.


  8. I love this post. I was amazed at how closely my own reading habits mirror yours--I always thought mine were unusual, since I've never met anyone who shared them. But your description of your "speed reading"? Check. Always finishing a book even if you hate it? Check. Reading multiple books at once? Check. In my teens I went through a phase (which I think a lot of awkward, nerdy girls do) of reading only fantasy/sci-fi books, but once I hit my twenties I widened that scope to include so much more. While I do love compelling and interesting non-fiction, I've often found some of my most profound "truths" about life and the world buried in fiction novels--it's always bugged me when people disparage fiction on the basis that it's not "real", because I believe the best, most powerful fiction is just that! Re-reading a beloved old book is like re-visiting a part of who and where I was when I first read it.

  9. Hei Milla!

    Ihan ensiksi: kiitos blogistasi. Löysin tänne muistaakseni viime keväänä Kertun kautta, mutta kesällä luin arkistojasi urakalla jos niin voi sanoa jostain todella mieleisestä :)
    Blogisi on kaunis ja elämäntapasi inspiroiva, sellainen jonka koitan itsellenikin jollain tavalla mahdollistaa. (Tähän saakka nähdyistä Suomen ekokylistä ja yhteisöistä mikään ei ole ihan kolahtanut, mutta erilaisia sovelluksia on onneksi pitkin matkaa löytynyt kaupunkien laidoiltakin. Viime aikoina suurempi muutoksen tarve on kuohunut pinnan alla, saa nähdä mihin minut vie.)
    Valtavasti pidän blogissasi sen rehellisyydestä, sen aitoudesta. Kiitos, että kirjoitat.

    Minä olen myös kirjaihminen. Minä myös rentoudun ja pakenen lukemalla, luen enimmäkseen naisten kirjoittamia kirjoja ja kävin lapsena kävelyllä kirjan kanssa kun käskettiin ulos sohvannurkasta nyhjöttämästä. Ala-asteikäisenä minulla oli lähimetsässä oma lukupuu, vanha mänty jossa oli sopivasti katkenneita oksantappeja alhaalla joita myöten yläoksistoon sai otteen ja korkeuksissa varressa nojatuolimainen mutka. Puu oli muutenkin lohtupuuni. Se kaadettiin lumettomana joulukuuna ollessani yksitoista rivitalotyömaan alta. Pidin sille hartaushetken ja siirsin sen hengen pihassamme oleilevaan vanhaan Datsuniin johon minulla oli myös lämmin suhde :)

    Tämän syksyn hienoimmat luetut ovat Monika Fagerholmin Meri (!!!)
    ja Ulla-Lena Lundbergin Jää jonka luin loppuun toissapäivänä enkä ole vielä lähtenyt sen maailmasta. Suosittelen kumpaakin suuresti!

  10. niin ja se vielä piti sanomani, että uusi kotisi näyttää aivan kertakaikkisen mahtavalta!
    Paljon ihania lukuhetkiä sinne ja piha- ja viljelysuunnitelmia sitten kun se aika koittaa :)

  11. Thank you for sharing your current reads, as well as your views on reading. This is such an interesting post!
    I've always been an avid reader myself and spent a good portion of my childhood with my nose in a book, the thicker the better. I was also pretty lucky in that I was unable to do Sports at school due to some health conditions, and instead I got to spend that time in the library. All those books surrounding me were a great incentive to get all of my homework done, and I loved curling up on the floor, pulling stacks of books off the shelves and settling down in a quiet corner to devour them all.
    As I've gotten older I've started to enjoy a wider variety of books, as a child I lived on fiction and poetry books but I now really enjoy quite a few none fiction books as well. Looking at my bookshelves I'd say they're probably about half and half now. My particular favorites at the moment are spiritual books. I studied Acupuncture for 3 years at University and then Reflexology this past year and it really sparked my interest in exploring different spiritual practices and philosophies, as well as books on alternative healing practices.
    I'm also one of those folks who has lots of books on the go all at once. When I was growing up I remember my parents being perplexed by that, they didn't know how I kept each story straight in my head.

  12. ha,k got in trouble for reading in class, too (one of the first straws leading us to eventually drag our little camel selves away from conventional schooling...). she seems to have the speed reading thing, too, and has always got multiple books going at once (like my dad). i can only manage one book at a time without completely flying away into the hermitage of the bookshelf's parallel universe(s). currently "trout fishing in america" is on the nightstand. memoirs are my guilty pleasure and diy books sit on living room tables as inspiration (oddly, i don't actually use any books' exact projects, they just inspire me to finish my own).
    gotta get going --kids are waiting to walk to the library, no lie!-- but will email later for sure...or tomorrow at the latest ;)

  13. yay books! yay reading! you were witness a couple of years ago to my own re-emergence as a book worm, after a hiatus of a few years. like so many parts of my little girls self, it's an aspect i had to reclaim. i also boycotted (no pun intended!) male writers in my 20s! now i still reach for the feminine voice, but have been entertained and heart broken by a few male writers over the past few years. i don't speed read, but i do read FAST, and come to think of it, do tend to skim along when the action gets good. like anne, i don't finish books i don't like. i feel personally insulted by writers who lose my interest, and since i already put up with too much bullshit IRL, it's a pleasure to walk away from it when it's a book. :P currently i have 20 books on my nightstand, and a pile next to it on the floor. i just finished 'refuge' (long overdue and amazing) and am savoring 'the secret language of plants', 'wild mind' and 'goodbye to a river' among others. in reading your post, i realized i've been feeling guilty about my bedside waterfall of books, which i think comes from the raised eyebrows i get from jeff when i get MORE books. now that i know i'm in good company, i will celebrate reading in excess with you. and, alas, here's another reason it's just too bad i don't live closer to you...raiding each other's book shelves, quiet reading evenings with tea and long, nerdy chats about plot lines. love you, thank you for this window into your safe haven. (and YO, quit with the teasing....i see that new house behind you...)

  14. Lemppari aiheeni,lukeminen. Luen paljon,ja laidasta laitaan. Yleensä kuitenkin yhtä kirjaa kerrallaan.
    Yöllä,kun imetän vauvaa ,aamiaisella,kun vauva nukkuu päikkäreitä ja vähän joka välissä muutenkin.
    Ja tietysti ääneen satukirjoja kummallekin tytölle.
    Kotinne näyttää niin kivalta!

  15. Good subject==>books!
    Memoirs and travel books I'm drawn to. Nature writing, environmental and anything to do with saving the extinction of wild animals. I will read anything by Barbra Kingsolver, though.
    Among my favorite memoirs is The Glass Castle, Eat, Pray, Love, Claiming Ground. I am a big fan of nature writer Gretel Ehrlich, The Solace Of Open Spaces, to name one.
    I'm interested in what life must be like in other lands, especially the harsh but beautiful places. Because of that, right now I'm reading Hearing Birds Fly, about a woman who goes to Mongolia to live with the nomads.
    I'm happy to have stumbled upon your site. Interesting and fun.

  16. "I've always been what some people might call a prolific autistically focused, insane reader. "

    Ouch. Being both autistic and a book-lover, so painful to read. Autism is not that, or insanity. I believe you did not mean it to, from what I have read you are not that kind of person. Still, that does not minimize the hurt.

    My new love is writings by willian jordan, next to-be-read is "The sunflower forest". The quote that caught my attention: "[the practice of ecological restoration] dramatizes, in a way that wilderness experience by itself does not, the hopeful idea that humans can influence even complex ecosystems in positive ways and, by extension, do belong on this planet - a notion that much of the environmentalist rhetoric of recent decades has left very much in doubt (Jordan, 2000)." Positive and encouraging but not in an absolving of wrongdoing way. Rather, a reclaiming of blame and admittance of guilt with restoration ecology as a way to start repaying the debt.

    1. I'm so sorry Ari, I was wondering about that, obviously I was wrong to. Thank you for being understanding. Sorry to have caused you any hurt, absolutely would not want to do that. I will edit it out, but wanted to leave this comment here to acknowledge that I f*d up. It's good to get called out in such a kind way, kudos to you because it's a really emphatic, productive way to get people to pay attention to what they say/write . Next time I hope to pay more attention.

      Word choices are hard and sometimes I do find myself going to stereo-typical expression, especially if I don't edit enough. That comes to my mind about insanity too, having been a person at one point with severe mental problems, I would actually argue that "crazy people" aren't crazy either, but rather their focus and mental functions are different from the norm. Yet it's easy to use these words because we as a society use words and terms without really pausing to think about their real definitions and meanings. And yes, I really did have well-meaning adults wonder about what "disorder" my reading and antisocial tendencies might have fallen under. Obviously I don't have anything in the autism spectrum, but the fact that categorizing behavior we don't understand into disorders was and is the norm, well, here I am doing the same thing.

      Anyway, lessons hopefully learned by yours truly.

      That book sounds amazing, right up my alley as well. I've never even heard of it or this guy, so that's obviously exciting. Finding positive ways to deal with Earth Grief, or environmental guilt is something we as a society desperately need. Reframing the sense of helplessness, the feelings of grief and guilt in a positive way could be really healing and empowering for environmentalists. Have you read Mary's blog terralectualism? You might enjoy her thoughts. Also, do you read Gary Snyder? Being a poet and an activist, his writings about nature-human-relations always fill me with great hope and joy.

      Also, do you have any good books to recommend about autism an the experience of people with it?

      Take good care and I hope you return with more recommendations.

    2. So very sorry for not replying until now. So relieved and glad you were not offended. I think it is impossible for a person to avoid using word-labels in a way that upsets no one. Seems to me more the responsibility is on the person who is hurt to speak up about it when it does happen than on others to try too hard to censor their word usage. That is what I think at least.

      I have not had any luck finding others like the book I mentioned, which is too bad. There is such a need, I think, to shift away from despair and towards a real sense of belonging. It is pretty exciting to find it in my chosen field of study, but restoration ecology is still such a new thing that there is not much literature about it yet.

      Thank you for the blog suggestion, you are right I like her writing, it is lovely to read. And as I write this, I am reminded I have yet to look up the poet you suggested. Hope and joy are definitely a need for me right now.

      Thank you again for a safe place and such happy readings and pictures. I really enjoy what you write.

  17. oh man, i wish i was reading more books lately! i have been so busy and i miss the comfort of sitting down with tea and a book.
    right now its turning fall and colder, and i like reading books that give me nostalgia. im re-reading don quixote and wuthering heights . im not sure why, but when it gets colder i feel like i need a book im familiar with to feel cozy.
    i also like bringing books of poems with me because they're short and give me a good boost when im on the bus or waiting in line for something.. i have a book of marianne moore collected poems that i've been bringing everywhere.

    im a big sci-fi and fantasy reader, i also love magical realism if it's done well. i really like to go someplace else, or have people bring out things in our everyday lives that are more 'fantastical'. ben okri and murakami are some writers i seem to always enjoy! !

    i like non-fiction, i just find things that im currently interested in and look for the best or recommended books in that area ! goodreads is a very helpful site for me . i just finished the wisdom of insecurity by alan watts and it was amazing. i also just ordered the subversive stitch by rozsika parker which im excited about !

    i'd love to hear some of your favourite lesser known female authors . i like when you write about books, they are forever interesting to me, and hearing or reading people talk about books is so soothing. just thinking of everyone getting absorbed by words is such a comforting thing. im glad the written word and book ritual is still so loved

  18. i've been wanting to come back and comment here since this subject is so close to my heart it practically hurts. all my life, my one constant, almost the thing around which my selfhood and personality rotate, is my love of reading. i used to read it all, have definitely read a thousand milk cartons ;) and have finished many books i wasn't truly enjoying or finding useful or inspiring. i can't bring myself to do that anymore for the same reasons anne mentioned. i simply don't have the time. this recently happened with The Lacuna by barbara kingsolver, and i wasn't even THAT not into it, i just lost interest. i put it down, and there is a chance i will pick it up again, we shall see. for now i have several others that are capturing me, and like you i read a lot more non-fiction these days although i still love both. and unlike you, i am far from a speed reader and even during grad school, reading a couple books a day did not come easily to me. i once timed myself and 50 pages an hour was about my maximum, of course this included lots of connection-making, returning to highlight passages, note taking, etc. i still read that way, especially if the book seems to be weaving itself into the fabric of my life and interests in a meaningful way. right now i am reading Swamplandia for my work of fiction (still pretty into it about halfway through...) and a book called Exuberance by Kay Redfield Jamison which i am just starting, as well as the Motherline book i mentioned in my blog. and yes, these books or at least one of them and my journal, go with me absolutely everywhere. that is another habit that is so familiar to me, and like andrea mentioned, i have definitely been known to sneak out of parties to read. i have definitely pulled out my journal to write at music shows, finding myself a secluded corner and a beer. (i'm sure you've done that many times too!) i also just finished a really interesting book called The Children's Blizzard, a book on weather and settling the prairies of midwest America. it was gripping. i read a lot of children's books these days too, of course, and i am so proud of lucy's apparent bookwormy nature :)

    i loved this post and it is always so fascinating to find out what you're reading. oh darin and i totally have to check out that 90s film book! although i know i would love the behind the scenes stories, i bet it doesn't get obscure enough for darin, he's not that into linklater or kevin smith. by the way did you know that book was a lucky find for free? it's worth at least a little somethin-somethin online, i just looked it up. looking up books' values and selling rarer ones online is now a part of darin's job at the bookery and he has become quite the book scout these days. i'm so excited to come visit you and scour the dump!

  19. not that we would take advantage of the dump's abundance! we will bring books to share too!