I've been reading a lot lately -- some for professional work and also a good stack for my own personal reading pleasure. I do have a reading sickness -- where once I become interested in a book, I can hardly focus on anything else. Combine this weakness with my iPhone and the siren call of Netflix, and I'm pretty much good for nothing. There are rare moments when I discipline myself long enough to fold a load of laundry and write a page or two. But then there are those multitudinous other moments where I just give in to the power of the story. I can't help it. I'm a weak woman.
Right now I'm finishing up Kelly Corrigan's The Middle Place. I ordered this book thinking it was about something else entirely (not Corrigan's crisis in facing breast cancer), but her writing style is so funny and engaging that I pretty much devoured the book in about four hours. Also, she has a lot to say about parenting and relationships that I find both hilarious and instructive.
Last week I read Elizabeth Smart's My Story, an account of her nine-month abduction. At the time of Smart's kidnapping and rescue I was a tiny bit obsessed with the story. Her being a young, naive Mormon girl snatched from her bedroom hit just a little too close to home. I'd seen the made-for-TV movie, but, come on, that can't be a fair shake. Her own account is riveting. I can't say it's good -- because it's tragic and heartbreaking. By the end, even though I knew she would be rescued, I was bawling my eyes out. It's actually quite disheartening to hear up close and personal about such evil in our world, but Smart's faith and spirit is an impressive counter. I think she is fabulous.
A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was reading E. M. Forster's Howards End. I selected Howards End because I was thinking about the idea of home as place -- and how that space shapes and influences us. It's a fabulous read in it's own right, but it didn't let me down in the consideration of home. I especially like it when Mr. Wilcox explains that "a house in which one has lived becomes in a sort of way sacred." So true.
It's been a year or so since I last read Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day, but it's sitting on my pile of soon-to be-read books. I think I'm drawn to the book because of its slow, beautiful pace -- the description of the English countryside, Steven's complete dedication to his work, and his insights on what remains of his day. It's thoughtful and revealing -- makes me think. Also, there are funny moments -- well, probably only funny to an irreverent American. Here's one of my favorite lines:
I would say that it is the very lack of obvious drama or spectacle that sets the beauty of our land [Great Britain] apart. What is pertinent is the calmness of that beauty, its sense of restraint. It is as though the land knows of its own beauty, of its own greatness, and feels no need to shout about it. In comparison, the sorts of sights offered in places as Africa and America, though undoubtedly very exciting, would, I am sure, strike the objective viewer as inferior on account of their unseemly demonstrativeness.
What about you? What are you reading?