Archive for the 'Books' Category
Every morning, my cat wakes me at 5 a.m. up tearing up newspapers and books. Some days, I throw him into the hallway, only to lie awake while he body slams the door. Some days, I throw him outside, then get up feeling guilty about the snow soaking his sleek coat. Today, I got up, fed the mongrel, put on my headlamp and read my book.
In the weeks and months preceding the election, I didn’t read any books. I was glued to refreshing the Opinion page on NYTimes.com and glued to getting the latest New Yorker in my P.O. Box. I also frequented the Huffington Post, NPR.org, TheAtlantic.com, The Morning News and some others.
Since the election, though, and the onslaught of recent rain/sleet/darkness here in Jackson, I picked up some books from the shelf of I really should read those one day. And I found a gem: The Mermaid Chair. It’s written by Sue Monk Kidd (the author made famous by The Secret Life of Bees, which is now a hollywood blockbuster starring Dakota Fanning.
It’s an addicting novel about a woman’s journey back to the place of her childhood, where she confronts the tragedy of her past, her stagnant marriage, her mother’s recent off-the-deep-end actions and falls in love with a Benedictine monk. This, all set on an island rich in boggy descriptions of egrets, crabs and tides.
It’s one of those books that you can tell is better as a book because you can smell the salt and mud as the tides change and feel the morning sun on your own eyelids, even as you lie on your couch reading by headlamp.
So, the other things I’m reading right now:
David Foster Wallace.
Good Poems by Garrison Keillor.
East of Eden By John Steinbeck (my favorite of his remains The Pastures of Heaven).
Living Buddha Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh.
And countless magazines (including, but not limited to The New Yorker, Photo District News, back copies of Alpinist and The Economist).
If whimsical “chick” novels aren’t your thing, I’d recommend David Foster Wallace’s NY Times story about Roger Federer or his story about going on a cruise, Shipping Out: On the (nearly lethal) comforts of a luxury cruise. The opening paragraph that will make you want to read all 24 pages of detailed descriptions of white white towels, creepily sparkling clean rooms and decadent dining with overweight cruise ship connoisseurs:
I have now seen sucrose beaches and water a very bright blue. I have seen an all-red leisure suit with flared lapels. I have smelled suntan lotion spread over 2,100 pounds of hot flesh. I have been addressed as “Mon” in three different nations. I have seen 500 upscale Americans dance the Electric Slide. I have seen sunsets that looked computer-enhanced. I have (very briefly) joined a conga line.
While it takes me about 10 minutes to get through one page of his dense writing complete with footnotes, it’s 10 minutes well spent.
And, the best part about reading DFW’s story is that it makes me want to be a writer.2 comments