So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Today is the end of week 9, so it's time for the end of the week count -

For the week:


PAGES - 1,746

For the year so far:

CHAPTERS - 1,131

PAGES - 16,485

I've been feeling a little bit blah lately about the blog - I think the last 3 days entries haven't been "up to my usual" (if you've never watched the old TV show Hazel then you have no idea why that's amusing, but trust me it is). I have been feeling a bit uninspired about reading because this is the time of year when I want to clean closets and not sit around and read (I blame my Mother for this, who trained me as a child to think of March as National-clean-out-your-closets Month). So I decided today to read the book that inspired me to write this book in the first place so I become reinvigorated about this blog project.

Today's book; ""I have a New Year's plan," Nelson writes in the prologue to this charming diary of an unapologetic "readaholic." Her goal: to read a book a week for a year and try "to get down on paper what I've been doing for years in my mind: matching up the reading experience with the personal one and watching where they intersect-or don't."

In late November I was de-cluttering in preparation for the holidays (another holdover from childhood when my mother taught us to do a major winter cleaning and organization session leading up to my birthday and Christmas in order to make room for the new presents we were about to get) - and I ran across this book. I kept thinking about what an interesting idea it was, and then a few days later I woke up and the first thought I had was, "If that woman can read a book a week while also working and raising a child, then I'm sure I could manage more than that without a child - how about a book a day. How hard could that be?" Well it turns out that reading a book a day isn't hard (if you have the kind of free time I have) but finding something interesting to say about every book is hard - very hard. There are a lot of days when I sit down at the computer and still have no idea what I'm going to say even as I'm turning the computer on - and ironically those seem to be the days when the entries turn out the best.

I thought it would be interesting to go back and read this book again, and see how the authors experience compares to my own with writing this blog. I definitely ramble more than she does - but then, I ramble more than most people do. Also, Nelson describes how she was never an avid reader as a child; "I don't have bittersweet memories of sitting by the window devouring Little House on the Prairie as other kids whooped it up on the playground" - and I was the exact opposite. I loved reading as a small child, although I did lose interest in it during high school (coincidentally, right around the time when I became obsessed with soap operas and watched about 6 of them at once) - which has left me with many wonderful memories. The down side of being an early and avid reader, is that I ended up reading things that were not appropriate for children to be reading (and I'm not even talking about my trashy novel habit) - I read articles about nuclear war and ended up so terrified that I had a hard time falling asleep for months, I read articles about the health problems my parents have and became convinced that I was perpetually on the verge of becoming an orphan. I became to high strung because of it that I would get off the bus every day, and run inside to see if my parents were still there, and then breathe a sigh of relief while thinking, "Thank goodness they're still alive." An early love of reading, combined with a vivid imagination can be a very dangerous thing - it can also make playing normal childhood games rather boring. I remember coming home from a friends house and being so disappointed because all she ever wanted to do was dress Barbie up and push her around in her Ferrari, and I wanted there to be a bit more drama to Barbie's life. This is where it comes in handy to have a sister who also loves to read, and has an equally vivid imagination. Barbie (who we renamed Laura - I don't suppose I need to tell you where I came up with that name from) and Ken (a.k.a. Derek) embarked on a wonderful but doomed love affair. Everything was going so well, until Laura had an unfortunate accident the resulted in her death - which left Derek a broken, shattered, shell of a man (not that is mattered anyway because his underwear were already frozen onto his body, so how much fun was he having anyway). He grieved for awhile - in a way worthy of the books that I really shouldn't have been reading anyway at that age - until Wedding Day Midge (renamed Lynn Auburn) came along - and then he learned to love again. Or maybe her last name wasn't Auburn, maybe that was the name my sister would use when we would pretend to be newscasters and talk show hosts and lawyers (occasionally at my slumber parties I would talk my friends into playing Divorce Court).

I have such a horrible memory that I couldn't recall any of the books that were mentioned in this one - so reading this book today was like reading it for the first time (I'm definitely going to look into some ginkgo supplements soon). One of the books that was mentioned, Heartburn by Nora Ephron, was also mentioned in another book that I have read for this blog. Normally when more than one person recommends a book to me I decide to read it - so I'm going to consider this the equivalent of two people I actually know recommending a book and add it to my list of books to read for the year. It's supposed to be a break-up/revenge novel, which is a type of book that I've never read before, so I'm looking forward to branching out.

The part that I enjoyed the most about this book is that the author didn't give away too much about the books that she read - and after working on this blog for two months I can really appreciate just how difficult that is. Some days I feel like I'm skimming across the surface of the book too much - being too light, and fluffy and mindless - but then I remember that 1. fun and light and fluffy was the point of this blog and supposed to be the thing that set it apart from the serious, meaningful blogs about books that already exist (that's right I'm celebrating meaninglessness) and 2. It's very difficult to write about a book in and in-depth way without giving away too much of the book. It's a tightrope act. Wow, that's an expression I never thought I would use since I am neither 1. a circus performer 2. a country music singer discussing how they balance their career with their personal life or 3. a drunk person at a cocktail party (why do people say such stupid things at parties - it's as if there's some sort of law that says if you put more than five people in a room together and provide them with appetizers they must all say really stupid things that they thing will impress others but will really make them sound like they're mocking themselves.)