Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Book Lust

I'm rolling in reading material right now. There'd been a dry stretch there for a while. Usually, I'm too frugal to buy myself a book. If I see titles I like at the bookstore, I'll go home and reserve them online at my library. Ever since the great bloodletting in January, however, I just haven't managed to make this cheap-reads system work. Either my account's been "blocked" and I can't reserve online, or I forget to go to the library in time to pick up the book (they only hold it a few days), or I can't remember the title by the time I get home from the bookstore.

The upshot of which is, most of my reading material this year has been blogs and newspapers. My brain feels thin.

So for my birthday, I treated myself to a bunch of books. I've just finished Devil in the Details. This was breathtakingly funny, at least to anyone who grew up Jewish and a little weird (ahem). Now I'm enjoying Leave the Building Quickly. (Hmmm, another Jewish memoir - I'm detecting a pattern here.) Awaiting my perusal are Little Heathens and Traveling Mercies. And of course I had to pick up the copy of Knitting For Baby that I've been lusting after for months.

I'm a very happy woman. There's nothing like having a stack of yummy books waiting for you on your nightstand to make you want to slip into something a little more comfortable and slide between those covers. [oooh, good pun! completely unintended! I'm a genius!]

You'll note that most of these books are memoirs. I'm currently addicted to the genre. It's odd, you know - up to the day I had my first child, I had no interest in reading anything but fiction. I would read - for fun! - short stories by Isak Dinesen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and assorted other well-known authors. My favorite book was All The King's Men, by William Penn Warren. In other words, I wasn't always as shallow as I sound now.

But I've read almost nothing but non-fiction since the minute Theo was born. Childrearing, it seems, leaves me no patience for the willing suspension of disbelief. At first, I devoured all the parenting books I could get my hands on, because - believe it or not - until the baby was actually born, I did not understand that I was going to be raising a child. I was therefore woefully unprepared for my new situation.

[I know, one could argue that the parenting literature belongs in the fiction category, for all the good it does the hapless reader. But let's not go there right now.]
Once I finished every single parenting tome ever published, I moved on to other how-to's and self-help books: the marriage ones (which should all be subtitled "How To Manipulate Your Spouse Into Doing What You Want"), the home organization ones (didn't take), the homeschooling ones ("Teach Your Child Latin While You Do Dishes!" and other lies)....the list is endless.

Oh, I dabbled a bit in history and economics, too; in fact, the year we spent in Rhode Island, I waded through both Empire: The Rise and Demise of British World Power (written by Niall Ferguson, only the hottest British economist a gal could ever hope to meet) and a number of history books by Thomas Cahill . Impressive, yet...dry facts can be so boring, can't they? Life is just too short to waste on data. So the yenta in me has found my true biblio-love: reading real-life, first-person stories, preferably humorous ones. (I prefer not to waste my time reading someone who is whining on and on about his/her life - I get enough of that from my own children.)

So excuse me if my posts are short and far-between for a few weeks; I'll be blissfully wallowing in other people's lives and thoughts for a while. It's refreshing to forget about my own boring problems for a bit and laugh at someone else's. Not charitable maybe, but refreshing...


  1. I'm much the same with my library books.
    I haven't been since last summer, when they claimed that I never returned a book and refused to stop the fines on it (even after they'd past the amount a new book would've cost). We're moving house next week, and that book still hasn't shown it's face - yet more proof that I did return it and they just lost it somewhere along the way.

  2. Enjoy the books! I love Knitting for Baby, and I'll have to check out some of those other titles. I do read fiction, but far more selectively lately. The latest by Jhumpa Lahiri is FINALLY waiting for me at the library. (Neener, neener, I can put anything on hold I want!)

    I have no idea what Stumble It is, so you're way ahead of me. I'm always afraid to click it. Lord knows what'll happen.

  3. AnonymousJune 24, 2008

    Speaking of memoirs, have you read Blame It On Paris yet?

  4. I like your stumble button. It is like a really big exclamation point at the end of your post. Do you use SuburbanCoorespondent on StumbleUpon? I will go look for you.

    I am longing for the book right now and have been so wrapped up in the blog. I think I will take a cue from you...

  5. AnonymousJune 24, 2008

    I love to read! Working my way through my own pile ... quite satisfying isn't it? Don't forget this summer's Eat, Pray, Love, which is called Enlightenment for Idiots. :D

  6. "Real life, first-person stories, preferably humorous ones?" Sounds like blogs to me.

  7. I love to read and my favorite genre is historical ficton...However, I hardly ever read any more. I'm a voracious reader, shall we say?, so when I get started I can't seem to put it down until it's done. Several years ago I decided I neglect my children and my home way too much when I have a good book to read. Someday I'll be able to read again on a regular basis. I miss it terribly!

  8. I have had a had time reading fiction since Kids too....now back in college though, I get an overdose of non fictional reading, so much so, that during my vacations I am actually reading fiction again, at long last.

  9. AnonymousJune 24, 2008

    Booky bliss - heavenly!

    But I'm feeling a little dim - what's a stumble button?

  10. AnonymousJune 24, 2008

    Isn't it the best feeling to have good books waiting for you? I also have Little Heathens awaiting me back home. Happy wallowing!

  11. AnonymousJune 24, 2008

    Knitting for Baby looks great. I only have 2 baby books in my knitting library, Itty Bitty Hats by Susan Anderson and Easy Baby Knits by Claire Montgomery--love them both. Happy reading!

  12. You've already read my favorite memoir which is "the Egg and I". I thought nobody read that anymore. If you like that you should try "50 Acres and a Poodle" by Laskas. If you like candy I would recommend "Candy Freak" by Steve Almond. Part Memoir, part candy history.
    I love memoirs and can't get enough.

  13. What people read things other than blogs? And parenting/pregnancy/marital therapy books?


  14. I need time to read. I have no time anymore and don't even borrow books from people because it takes me months to read them and they keep asking: "Did you read it?"
    Yes, sure I did because between working, taking care of my son, blogging and living the rest of my life I put a time-limit on how long it would take me to read your book and I've read it and now return it to you.

    Whatever .... enjoy the books. Better than blogging by far.

    Later you can blog about how great they are. Thanks for the suggestions too!

  15. this was my favorite: because - believe it or not - until the baby was actually born, I did not understand that I was going to be raising a child

    that was me! no clue this person was going to be around forever.

    i've been struggling with the reading too and just treated myself to three new books -- all fiction -- still love it!

    enjoy those books!

  16. I love memoir, too. I think Kalynne might be onto something with the blog/memoir connection.

  17. AnonymousJune 24, 2008

    good choice of books and genre! i love biographies. let's me know stuff happens to other people as well ;-)

    what does stumble do??? i don't get it. do i review your blog? or your entry? *clueless*hey you tech savvy momma*way to go!*


  18. Enjoy your reading. Hey what's Stumble It?

  19. Stupid Blogger wouldn't let me comment on your cute new shoes yesterday, hopefully it's back to letting me yammer so I can congratulate you on the Stumble thing! It took me forever, too... and I didn't actually get it right, either. Oh well. I think I'm too old...

  20. I've tried StumbleUpon and gave up. It is a bit reassuring to know someone else has had issues with it.

    Books, I love 'em! Enjoy.

  21. AnonymousJune 24, 2008

    I find I get a specific literary craving around each pregnancy. Once it was travel narratives, another time it was Jane Austen, etc.

    It's not funny, but I loved Rick Bragg's biography of his ancestor, Ava's Man. Beautiful book. And Paulette Jiles' memoir of her time in northern Canada, North Spirit, is excellent.

  22. Have a wonderful time in your literary nirvana! I am currently reading no less than five books concurrently...two as read alouds to the kids! Oliver Twist just for me...I'm fond of Historical fiction, but Thomas Woods' "How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization" was funny, readable and enlightening.
    God Bless, EJT

  23. OH I'm a fiction whore. I decided to upgrade my reading, which only means I have about 6 books on the nightstand that , um, well, are just sitting there. I guess that's ok for now because ALL I DO IS READ BLOGS!!!!

    And I have no idea what a stumble button is or how to install it, so props to you, girl.

  24. You've read Nial Ferguson and Thomas Cahill? Ok. I'm officially impressed. I'm the type that would buy their books and put them on my shelf to look smart, but read "Valley of the Dolls" instead.

  25. we seem to have the same library issues- although mine is WAY more the fact that I just forget to go pick up the ones I have on hold. :) The worst part? The library is literally ACROSS THE STREET. I don't have to go out of my way at all to get there.

  26. I'll have to get you to come over and tell me how to install that LARGE Stumbleupon button on my blog.

    I envy you your books and reading. I just can't seem to figure that in right now with all I'm trying to do. And I was addicted to fiction before children, too. Always. Now, nonfiction mostly - especially on childrearing..

  27. "The marriage ones (which should all be subtitled "How To Manipulate Your Spouse Into Doing What You Want") - AMEN. I read one of the more infamous books for a book club and I was horrified by the advice. Ick.

    I'm like Molly - if I have a good book, I completely neglect my children. I have to gear up for it.

  28. Congrats on getting the button installed! They don't make it easy, do they?

  29. Well I was working myself up into a tizzy over your comment that reading blogs made your mind feel 'thin'. Then I realised my most recent entry was titled 'Boobies' and realised I had nothing to be indignant about!

    Enjoy your real reading. I am jealous.

  30. AnonymousJune 25, 2008

    Friend at work gave me The Good Guy by Dean Koontz yesterday. It's his non-sci fi action stories. I picked it up at 6pm when I got home and read almost non stop until 9:30.. I finished it, it was great.

  31. It's been a bit since I read your blog. I'd forgotten how hilarious you are!! I love your comment about homeschooling books... :lol: