This week, I’ve been mulling over whether reading is primarily a lifestyle or primarily a cultural pursuit. Writing that sentence annoyed me. Because why must it be either/or? These false binaries are, irritatingly, everywhere.
However, for the sake of filing newspaper stories, practical decisions have to be made. Does a story on, for example, hot new releases belong under the heading “Culture” or “Lifestyle”? How about coverage of an author event? What about an essay about rereading a classic, or the latest literary fiction, or a juicy new murder mystery that will keep you up too late, rendering you sleep-deprived and grumpy at work the next day?
Since Stephen Mitchell’s 2011 translation of the The Iliad came out, I’ve been telling myself that I should reread this epic poem. The last time I read it, I was in high school studying modern Greek with a tutor. This tutor came to my house each week. Seated at a round table in my parents’s shades-of-brown family room, with its faux wood-paneled walls, I’d read out loud from a modern Greek translation of The Iliad. I think maybe we discussed it? I can’t recall exactly how I felt about the poem, other than that it seemed to involve a lot of killing, trash talking, and whining gods.
Four years after purchasing Mitchell’s translation and reverently placing it on my bookshelf, I finally got around to the task of reading it. Turns out, I wasn’t so off the mark with my initial assessment. Also: It’s one of the saddest books I’ve ever read, and an absolute must read for anyone who wants to understand the human condition.
Last week, these were the books in my reading queue: The Martian by Andy Weir and Two Years Eight Months and Twenty Eight Days by Salman Rushdie. Both were for book clubs, one that I lead and one in which I’m a participant. And both were borrowed through my local library’s e-lending program. Continue reading “On borrowing books from the e-library”
The places we read about in books exert a tremendous fascination. How else to explain the existence of phenomena like Universal’s Harry Potter world, or the restored homes of beloved authors, or literary walking tours of the cities and towns where those authors, and their characters, lived?
A few years back, a dear friend of mine was going through a scary hard time. Since we don’t live in the same town or even state, I couldn’t drop by her house to dispense hugs and warm treats. So instead, I put together a care package of things I hoped would bring her refuge. Continue reading “Relearning to love coloring books”
Seven (7). That is how many copies of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’sStone live in my house. I mention this because if you’ve read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, you may recall that seven is a powerfully magical number. Do with this information what you will.
Now then, how does one end up with seven copies of Harry Potter number one? Let’s do the tally:
As I’ve mentioned before, one of my big inspirations to reread my favorite classics, and discover the ones I’ve neglected in the past, has been doing the Gilmore Girls Reading Challenge with Jessica Collins, my friend and contributing editor at Books, Ink.
This month’s Charles Dickens reading goal was to revisit A Tale of Two Cities, but I’ve gotten a bit sidetracked with books of the circumstance and season variety.
My reading month started off with two books I heard about in September, both related to 9/11: Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog & the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero by Michael Hingson with Susy Flory and The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede. Both were so readable that I consumed them one after the other the first weekend in October.