And reading

Or trying to… I have this enormous personal library in the house on Bequia, shelved in alphabetical order according to author on the living room wall – and it is indeed a Wall of Words lined up on those shelves that are 10′ wide and 9′ tall. Then there are more shelves in the kitchen for my cookbook collection, which I have organized in my own way (and can tell when a book has not been returned to its rightful spot!). Plus we now have Rodger’s low bookshelves that didn’t fit into his new apartment. They sit under the living room window next to the TV. Half of those shelves are filled with books, the other half is devoted to DVDs.

So I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that, right now, I have many books, time to read them, but nothing has caught my interest well-enough that I’ve wanted to read to the end. Yes, Lisa, I’m sorry to say, not even Catcher in the Rye, although I did make a valiant second attempt after you berated me for not enjoying it as much at 57 as I did when I was 16.

I read the Stephen King book, On Writing, and got a lot out of that. Tried to begin Aspects of the Novel by E.M. Forster, but kept falling asleep, and now I’m picking away at 179 Ways to Save a Novel by Peter Selgin. But that’s all research and instruction material. I’m looking for pure pleasure at the moment, something that will surprise and amaze me with its craft and story, and as a break from editing my own novel, which – I know! I know! – I really should be doing… But nothing jumps off the shelves and into my hands. I could go back and reread some of my favourite books, by great authors, and become inspired all over again, because they’re all here – I’ve kept them. I still have all my university texts and anthologies, too. In fact, that’s why I happened to have this Penguin edition of Aspects of the Novel, come to think of it. It was required reading for a course I took at Queen’s on the history of the novel.

And I also have the ability to download books from the Calgary Public Library and read them on my laptop, although I tend to only read research books that way, so I can easily make notes in a Word doc at the same time. I’m still not that into taking the laptop to bed with me for an afternoon curl up.

Dennis, on the other hand, has just about finished reading all the books I brought for him, Henning Mankell crime novels, mainly. But then he has control over the one place I do love to read when I’m on Bequia – the hammock. Not fair!

So I’ll continue scanning these shelves in the hope that the one particular book I need to read will catch my eye. Or maybe I should consider reading a food lit book (as opposed to a recipe-filled cookbook), instead. No, that will just make me hungry and drive me into the kitchen to cook more food I really don’t need to eat.

What are you reading that’s brilliant? Any suggestions as to what I should read? I’m all eyes!

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4 responses

  1. Just read “Water for Elephants” while I was in Cuba. It was a great beach read. Good pacing and characters. It reminds of what I should be doing when I’m writing (but not trying to be too capital L literary.

    1. Read it a few years ago. It was good!

  2. I recall reading The First Circle by Alexander Solzhenitzen while vacationing in Puerto Vallarta back in the 90s. I found it absolutely riveting!

    But for now, on this sunny day in Calgary, I’m reading titles on spines as I pack them away for my move next weekend. I can’t believe how many books I’ve collected in the last six months, most of them through my association with you! Thanks Susan!

    1. You’re welcome, Annie! I read that book at one time myself, but I no longer have a copy. That may have been required reading for a Russian Lit. class at Queen’s. Hugh? Do you remember what we read for that class? Lermontov’s A Hero of Our Time was my favourite book from that course, and I still have a copy! Maybe it’s time to reread it.

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