(and miscellaneous items!)
Are you a reluctant reader or feeling jaded about books? Here's a novel solution!
Pop over towww. flickr.com and see the wonderful pictures ofbooks on there, taken by people around the world. Folks, I reckon, who love to read and also those who celebrate books as the lovely physical objects they are. And, of course, if you're lucky you'l be able to dowload these pictures free of charge under Creative Commons Licence (take a look at creativecommons.org for more information on this).
On this site, many thanks to Eccentric Scholar for two 'Rainbow Bookcase' pictures, Lin Pernille for 'Timeless Books', Nate Steiner for 'Weekend Bookbinding', Guerila Futures=Jason for HP1M2388 --that's the pic with the harlequin chair-- and Soul Pusher for 'Acres of Books after Closing.'
What am I reading at the moment? (In addition, that is, to texts I may need to read or re-read for teaching purposes.)
Well, here are some samples from a month earlier in the year...(yes: I do read a lot and sometimes three books on the go)
James Dickie's Deliverance. You may have sent the film? I'm quickly reading this again because we'refairly frequent travellers to the Southern States of America. North Georgia, where this by turns beautiful, by turns horrific story is set, is right under my skin. You don't know where Appalachia is? Better Google, Wiki or even look at a map..
Khaled Hosseni's A Thousand Splendid Suns. It's a sweeping narrative of women's lives, loves, endurance and unbelievable suffering in Afghanistan. If you know nothing about what was happening there before the Taliban, this will give you some idea. I won't say that I found it a work of genius and I actually preferred his previous book, The Kite Runner, but I also could not out it down and read it one sitting. Reader, I had flu. and I'm a quick reader.
The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. It's a love story in which Henry, one of the two main characters, slips between periods of time without warning and finds himself pulled in and out of out situations against his will. What this does to him and to the love story of which I speak, you will have to find out about. But I do recommend.
Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen by Larry McMurty. He's the chap who wrote Terms of Endearment and Lonesome Dove and also the screenplay for Brokeback Mountain, if you're interested. He's also my husband's uncle and I figured I should get up to speed. This one's unusual because it's non fiction and its subtitle is 'Reflections at Sixty'. I'm quite gripped by the descriptions of cowboys, landscape, writing....
And in the past two months I have set myself a sort of reading project to re-read those Dickens texts I wanted to see again, to experience those unread and finish those I needed to. Thus..I have re-read Great Expectations, the First Part of David Copperfield (I am currently finishing off what, in my text, is the second volume). Next up, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Master Humphrey's Clock and then, to my shame, Bleak House - which I have never touched. I cannot tell you what delight I have had in reading these texts. So, if you have never read Dickens, or your only experience of him is of Oliver Twist or A Christmas Carol (not that these are not marvellous), I'd refer you to Great Expectations for its extraordinary characters: Pip - and the journey he is on from child studying the gravestones of his late parents to imagine what they looked like to the beneficiary, flawed and snobbish, of a mysterious donor....Miss Havisham is always a bride with sunken eyes in a yellowing bridal gown, with a mouldy wedding cake, a house all shuttered up against the sunlight and a beautiful, merciless protege. And then what of Magwitch, the convict: demon or angel, eh?
And other texts of the past month
I read and fairly quickly abandoned Eat, Pray, Love because I thought it was dull and unengaging. Sorry. However, I did attempt to go back and see how Elizabeth Gilmour dealt with her demons and taked about how she managed depressions by talking to herself and looking after herself.
Fay Weldon's What Makes Women Happy fell into my hands and I found her advice generous and downright sensible and funny. I felt little tugs at my common sense here. Much more up my street, this.