Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Writing about Reading

There was a recent time in my life when I didn't really read. I read magazines, yes, and various items on line, but books stopped figuring into my life in a significant way. Losing myself in fiction seemed frivolous somehow--I had so many more pressing things to do. I remember liking to read very much, and that I wanted to pick it up again, but couldn't somehow.

But I missed it, and wanted to make it a priority in my life again. So when I made some changes in my life a year or so ago, I did. In writers group, we talk often and regularly (imagine that) about a variety of books. I started asking friends for recommendations, borrowing books, leaving work early to make the twice annual pilgrimage to the library books sale to stock up--not just on pleasure reading, but also on cookbooks, gardening and birding books, home repair. And a couple of books that were just too beautifully bound and printed to not give a shelf to.

The library book sale is such a wonderful experience. Such a thrill to hunt for the last of the Hornblower series, or books to send to M's friend in Iraq, or for when Mom was laid up after her operation. It's so easy to invest in both classics or tomes that I may--or may not--read after all. They also sell old books. I'm in love with the way they smell, how the texture of the cloth binding and paper feel in my hands, the no-longer-favored typefaces, the deckle edges. I admit to feeling a little groovier-than-thou when I was traveling last year and reading my lovely old edition of Vanity Fair in public--I'm sure everyone who noticed was so impressed! :)

Another thought about reading novels--I know, I know how hard it is to write a good book. I know. But now that I'm attempting to write one myself, my appreciation and respect has increased tremendously.

Julia and I talked some last PWG meeting about White Teeth by Zadie Smith, my last fiction read and one she had also read recently. I've been meaning to write a review of it. (I've also been meaning to start a book and movie review blog, but it'll be a while.) I've managed to overcome my author envy--she's young, lovely, and has a great way with words--and recommend White Teeth. She creates wonderful, convincing characters and situations. Her plot is very ambitious, covering quite a chunk of time and several cultures. But I was a little disappointed with the ending--which I know, is hard, I know. It felt contrived, a forced wrapping up and bringing together of the all of the characters and their timelines. Mom, what do you think about it?


Our little knitting coven at work is dubbed the "Knitwits" and I've been really feeling like a nitwit over my latest project. I'm making another kitty pi for Veronica, but I neglected the cardinal rule for starting any project: make a test swatch first! I can certainly fudge the size on this project, I think, but I'm not sure how it will felt up. I should just take a pause and do a swatch now, before it gets too late to turn back and my hands ache for days (this is the kind of project I get a bit obsessive about), all for naught.


Twenty week. Twenty weeks, people! Will all my nails be long? Will I have a huge zit? Noticeably more gray hair? Will all my carefully memorized vows fly out of my head at the moment of truth? What if it's 110 degrees? Ack!

Awright. Enough bloggygagging. Time to get to chores.


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