If you’ve visited this feature before, you’ve perhaps noticed that my inspiration for these Wednesday reading roundups is Taking on a World of Words, who hosts WWW Wednesday, and Coffee and Cats, who introduced me to it. I mention it every week and worry that my thanks will come to seem perfunctory. It is decidedly not.
Over the last month, I’ve had many moments of wondering why … about so many things. It’s a question I’ve asked before, for different reasons. This month, I find myself despairing of the world around me, near and far. As you can imagine, it makes focusing on reading a challenge. What is the point of it all? I ask myself. This is especially so when the books I read feel so far removed from the very real and pressing problems of the world as to seem distastefully self-indulgent.
What I forget in these moments is how transformative books can be. Reading can remind me how resilient humans are, how much beauty and love can be found in the world. Books can remind me that human history is cyclical, not the linear march of progress we may wish it were. But there is hope in this too.
When I say *thank you* each week to Taking on a World of Words and Coffee and Cats, I’m saying thank you for inspiring me to stay close to books. Thank you for the reading community that inspires me to find the books that I can focus on, because they speak to me and the moment I’m living through right now.
What are you currently reading?
I’m still working on Harry Mount’s Odyssey: Ancient Greece in the Footsteps of Odysseus. It’s not a terribly long book, but I don’t have large stretches of time to read at the moment, so I’m allowing myself all the time I need. Lingering in the ancient world with Mount is proving very calming for me.
What did you recently finish reading?
I finished Stargazy Pie by Laura Lockington. I was enjoying the characters and story until I came upon an upsetting scene: Characters attend some sort of festival where performers appear with boot polish on their faces. As this is a novel by a British author for a British audience, and the two Englishes are not always the same, I’ve realized I may be jumping to conclusions. Can anyone tell me if it has the same meaning in the U.K. as in the U.S.?
What do you think you’ll read next?
I started By The Numbers by Jen Lancaster, but I don’t feel it’s the right time for her novel and me. I read the first 30 pages and struggled to focus, so I am setting it aside for now.
I suspect it may be time to start reading Homer’s The Odyssey. Mount’s memoir is making me want to experience it.
What books are on your read, reading, and will read lists?