Sunday, October 26, 2008

On reading

Hey all, I was AWOL if you hadn't noticed. And chances are good I wasn't exactly doing exciting things with my time. The normal routines of life seemed to be all I was writing about, and frankly I was boring myself (and, most likely, you). Mind you, a lot of these tasks are things that make me inordinately happy (like mowing the lawn), but how many times can I tell the interwebs how productive I was without sounding like a drone?

I've started reading more... something I've missed in my life the last three years since moving into my home. When I lived above the bar, I needed to read before bedtime in order to fall asleep (and yes, there were times that plan worked to my detriment when in the depths of some fantastic prose). Conversely, when I moved here, it was so pleasant to lie in bed and listen to the crickets, night critters, cars driving on the wet, the shush-shush of I-80...

During the day, my attention was riveted to all those fascinating aspects of owning your first home: should that table go there? how can I maximize this space? yadda yadda yadda. So one day I decided to ask Veronica of The Words for a book suggestion. She said American Psycho. Ok, then. I have to admit it took me almost a year to really read this book. I would pick it up, read for a while, put it down. It didn't hold me, didn't grab me. Sometimes, it's just not the right time to meet a book.

Eventually, this summer, I finally picked it up... and couldn't put it down. I was sucked in. Now the 'problem' with me is that I tend to want to discuss certain things I read. And I wanted desperately to sit sit down with someone and talk about this book, but either none of my friends had read it or they had read it so long ago they couldn't remember certain aspects. But evidently there are two schools of thought: he did it; he didn't do it. I digress, because this post is not about American Psycho. Veronica and I had a written discourse (we believe the opposite of Patrick Bateman) over the course of a few days. I doubt we'll ever agree on that. But I wrote something to her on the topic of reading perception that she urged me to put on the blog.

It is: "... words are always going to be interpreted by whatever emotions/life experience a person will connect them to. I view reading books as making friends; for the duration of the read (and many times, long after), this book, these characters, become a part of the reader's emotional landscape."

I'm curious if other people feel this way about their reading material. Certainly not ALL books will have this effect (not with me, anyway), but I would very much like to know the books that have spurred this feeling in you, my handful of readers. Right now I'm floundering for something to read, and it's most decidely not a lack of books untouched on my shelves. I've started The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson and The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox. Unfortunately, it's just not the time for either book. Based on what I wrote to Veronica, I really believe the timing has to be right when picking up any text. And if it's not, then I won't get out of a book what I need.

So tell me what you're reading, what you've read, why, and what you are getting/got out of it. I'd love to hear it.

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