February 28th, 2007

planet

more on reading

I finished Life of Pi last night. Incredible book... also CREEPY AS HELL, it's just stayed with me in a weird way. Some friends lended it to me. I'm a lot better about finishing books when someone is expecting me to read and return it (promptly), so I should probably go to the library more often.

I should mention, since I had that prestigious post earlier this week about how booky I am, that I'm actually ashamed of how few books I read in a given year. When I was a kid I read like a crazy person. I had two shelves of books I owned, and I'd read each of them fifty times, and we went to the library every week. I read good books by Katherine Paterson, Louisa May Alcott, Laura Ingalls Wilder, I read crappy babysitter's club books, it didn't really matter. Getting my hands on a new Roald Dahl book meant setting up all my pillows in one corner of my bedroom and not moving for hours, unless I really had to go to the bathroom. I practically memorized A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle.

Something happened in middle school... I got distracted, or bored. I started writing a lot more but reading a lot less. I had less time. From grades 6-12, my english classes mostly focused on coming of age books about boys during wartimes. I started thinking that if you weren't a boy growing up during a war, no one would write about you. If we read books by women authors about female characters, they were only offered alongside the boys-coming-of-age books so that the class could be split and we'd have a choice on what to read, so as not to force the boys to read about us. I'd usually pick the "boy" book to buck the trend and show how un-girly and rebelious I was. More boredom. By the time I was a junior I was so annoyed by literature that I didn't even take AP english, and shortly afterwards decided to be an engineer. Then I stopped reading and writing... no more poetry, no more stories.

And so it went. In college, if I had any time to read I felt obligated to read course materials, after college, I'd forgotten how to read, I bought magazines. But it's been bugging me so I've been trying to get into it more. I'm not 8 anymore, I'm not forced into bed at 9:00 with only books to keep me company, but I've found that at work, my lunch break is the same basic effect... I like bringing lunch and eating at my desk, but need to avoid the work in front of me, so I bring a book and read a chapter a day until I really get into it, then I bring it home and let it absorb me.

I'm letting myself read anything. I had this idea for years that I had to read non-fiction otherwise it was useless... now I'm back to beleiving that as long as there are words on the page it's good for me. I read a good story (like Life of Pi!), then I'll read non-fiction, then I'll read some total fluff (Jodi Picoult is as fluffy as I get). In the last year I read The Tao Gal's Guide to Real Estate, two C.S. Lewis books, Susan Gilman, some chick lit that divine ms. a lended me. I'm feel better when I finish a book, healthy. It's a lot like yoga... doesn't have to be this hardcore cardio thing that engages every part of you, it's just small parts, moving, but definitely worth appreciation.