I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately. My lack of interest in The Thin Place kept me from reading very often and now I find myself well behind in the number of books I’ve read year-to-date compared to previous years. But it’s not all about the numbers and now I’m ready to reclaim my reading enthusiasm.
Well, sort of.
At the moment I’m catching up and reading a few books for work. So far, I’m enjoying the one I’m in the middle of now so things are looking up.
On the purely for pleasure side of things, though, I’ve found a new addition to my TBR list. And it’s an interesting one… The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer.
If the name Meg Wolitzer rings a bell, it could be because her book The Ten Year Nap is on my mom’s list and I went to one of her readings at Barnes and Noble awhile ago. While I wasn’t super excited about The Ten Year Nap, I never blamed that on the author, just that it seemed to target a different, slightly older demographic. I did like her writing. Now, with The Interestings, I think I’ve found a Wolitzer book I would really enjoy. Here’s the (short) description:
The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge.
I mean, I love camp! Plus, this book seems like it would appeal to all age groups. It helps that I’ve been reading rave reviews on this one everywhere (Entertainment Weekly, I’m looking at you). Also, I’m a sucker for the pretty cover. All good things.
Hopefully, I’ll get to The Interestings this summer when a good amount of travel will probably mean a good amount of reading time.
When you work in publishing and have a book blog, people think you know a thing or two about books. Weird, right?
Since I love talking about books I appreciate this assumption, but it does bring a certain amount of pressure. By now, I really should be more prepared.
Out at a bar on a Saturday night two different people asked me what good books I’d read lately. Not a hard question, especially for someone who reads as much as I do. And yet, I struggled. I pretty much answered both with an “Oh, um, hmm, let me think… uh, well, I’m listening to Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk now and it’s, uh, pretty good.”
Perhaps because I’ve been reading a lot of manuscripts for work lately, I don’t have that many current books to recommend. Plus I am horrible at remembering what I’ve read recently. Still, I should be able to come through with an answer.
I think from now on at any given time I should have a list of the top books I’ve read in the past few months assembled in my head for when the situation arises. My current one would probably include Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (well, it’s true), The Middlesteins, Game Change, Where’d You Go Bernadette, and Beautiful Ruins. Give me a few months and I’m sure it will change.
For the first time in a long time, I found myself unsure of what new book to read. Usually there is a work book that I really need to get to, a book club book waiting to be addressed, or some bestseller I’ve been dying to dive into. But not this week. I mean sure, there are plenty of work books that I could/should be reading, a book club pick is likely forthcoming, and there are still plenty of bestsellers that require my attention, but nothing urgent.
Instead of hitting that oh-so-tempting “one click to buy” button from my Kindle, I browsed old-school. That is, I meandered (as much as one can meander in a teeny tiny New York apartment) over to my bookshelf. There I discovered many previously ignored choices. Middlesex very nearly shouted at me to pick it up. How can I have gone this long without reading it? And yet, I decided I needed a break from long books.
That’s when I saw the fairly slim (is 307 pages considered slim?) paperback of Love Walked In squeezed between two larger books. When I bought Love Walked In I knew nothing about it except that it is written by Marisa de los Santos, an author my mom recommended to me. I still know nothing about it except that it is written by Marisa de los Santos, an author my mom strongly recommended to me, and whatever the back copy says. That will change, though, in a mere 307 pages.
Or should I say 303 pages. I managed to get through a whopping four pages last night before falling asleep. That is not a commentary on the book at all and rather just a note about how incredibly tired I was.
In honor of Haruki Murakami’s birthday, Book Riot posted this quote of his: “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
I love this idea. Too often, I choose to focus on the books on the bestseller list or the books that are getting all the buzz. I can’t help it, I want to read what everyone else is reading so we can talk about it! Of course, I don’t always bend to popular will. I only read the first 50 Shades of Grey book, I never finished the Harry Potter series, and I’m sure there are tons of other hits I’ve never touched. Still, I need to spread my wings a little.
In fact, that has been one of the best things about my mom’s list. It has forced me to read books I never would have picked up otherwise. This year, even after I finish my mom’s list, I’m going to try and continue to branch out. I want to read some classics, some old popular books that I missed, novels outside my comfort zone, etc. But believe me, I’ll still be reading plenty of the popular stuff.
Speaking of trying new things, maybe I should read a Murakami after all.
Rather than talking about the results of the election, I’m just going to talk about a nifty chair (and only partly because I am writing this before Election Day). You’re just not reading right if you’re not reading in a $1,300 iPad Rocking Chair.
Sure that’s a steep price for a chair that does not even come with an iPad but it does have a dock, speakers, and a built-in generator so you can charge on-the-go (if by “on-the-go” you mean rocking). It’s all very practical.
Do you think if I drop enough hints Andrew will get me this for Chanukah? I’ll worry about where to put it later.
(Thanks Galleycat for providing me with all my blog fodder this week.)
So it’s back to reality. Last week was completely Hurricane Sandyified and life is only just now returning to normal. And unfortunately, for so many in the Tri-State area normal is still quite a ways away.
All in all, Andrew and I were very lucky. While the storm devastated much of New York and New Jersey, our apartment was left unscathed. We did lose power, along with pretty much all of Manhattan below 39th street, from Monday night to Friday night. During that time, we relied on the extreme kindness of friends to keep us entertained (and warm and fed and in lights) on the Upper East Side and then slept back at our apartment. For one night, Andrew and I went on an adventure to Philadelphia where we saw the Liberty Bell and ate pancakes with chocolate chip cookie dough. Any posts on this blog last week were the result of a very productive Sunday before the hurricane. I scheduled three posts in advance and those three were all you got.
Surprisingly, I did not read very much during this past week. True, TV was not much of an option at home and I did have all five days off of work, but reading was just not in the cards. (What was in the cards was playing cards… spades specifically). In fact, we spent much of the time surrounded by friends, which was a great way to pass the time, but not conducive to quiet book time. No complaints here though.
There will certainly be time to read soon enough… Particularly on the plane to and from Chicago this upcoming weekend for a wedding!
Now I’m going to publish this post and actually pick up a book (or rather an iPad). America America is waiting for me.
P.S. How crazy is that picture of New York on the cover of New York magazine?
P.P.S. Happy 30th birthday, Adam!
You know how normally when I travel I complain about having to fly but then extol the good reading time I will get? Well this past weekend I think I got over that frame of mind. There is such a thing as too much reading time.
Andrew and I spent the weekend at a wedding in Kentucky. We had a great time… until it came time to leave. After getting to the airport way too early (not my choice) it turned out our flight was delayed. Then delayed some more. And then finally canceled. We had to get a room at the airport hotel and then head back out for a 6am flight connecting through Atlanta. Good times. I think after 6 hours in the airport and a few more for the flights, even I got sick of reading time.
However, the silver lining in the travel delays was that I did in fact read a lot. I even finished The Deep End of the Ocean. It was pretty depressing and I tried hard not to sob in public. Fortunately, I knew there was a sequel so I was reasonably assured that the conclusion wouldn’t be completely devastating. I did get sucked in, which is good since I had some time to kill, but it may have been a little more emotionally draining than I would have chosen. Nevertheless, I am kind of looking forward to reading the sequel.