Adventures in Reading

Must… Resist… Buying…
April 9, 2008, 1:33 pm
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So far so good on the not purchasing books front. It has been very close mind you, but what I have found helpful is the hold shelf at work. One of the perks of being a worker bee is that a special hold area is allowed for our future purchases. Depending on various factors, a book can be placed on hold for two weeks to a month, but the section is seldom bothered with and books being held can almost have an indefinite status. I made a deal with myself after nearly giving into an impulse purchase of a three volume set of Susannah Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. That is, I’ll put the item on the hold shelf and if I still really want it two to four weeks later I will reconsider purchasing it (or putting it on the shelf or putting it on hold again). Ultimately, I said no to this particular three volume set.

However, one book has had my mouth watering for nearly a year: Brewer’s Dictionary of Fable, Myth, and Phrase. In short, a dictionary containing all of those wonderous literary and poetic words and phrases and the current edition also includes a fabulous introduction by Terry Pratchett. I’m doing my best to simply include it on my list of demands for my birthday, but it is so tempting.

12-Step Programs for Book Lovers
August 12, 2007, 1:28 pm
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I have a problem when it comes to obtaining books. Whether I am actually purchasing a book or checking it out from the library I become the proverbial child in a candy store, and simply do not know when to stop. The result: I usually return half the books I have checked out from the library unread, and I have multiple stacks of books I own but still have never delved into. There must be some place for me to seek help. The following is an average book binge week for me.

On Wednesday in an attempt to kill some time before the movies I stopped in at the library. I knew I had Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye waiting for me but went ahead and perused for a few more books. At work a recent bout of popularity has developed in the literary criticism section that surrounds books like Read Like A … . Now these books are not about literacy per se as much as how to guides to read like a professor, or a writer, or your grandmother (right, I made that one up). I am rather curious at what the books say about reading as I assume with any other skill reading too can be honed and improved upon. Unfortunately the library does not carry these books, but I found myself in the right section (that is, where the books would be kept if they did have them) and checked out Book Lust and More Book Lust.

Friday rolls around and I gave in and purchase Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen. This summer Anna Karenina has been singing her siren’s song to me. First while reading The Elephant Vanishes: Stories by Haruki Murakami one of the stories is about a woman who can not sleep. This woman isn’t an insomniac but is simply never tired enough to sleep. Part of her nightly routine is to read Anna Karenina and she reads the books over and over throughout the story. The following evening after I finished the story some friends were discussing Anna Karenina and I decided I really ought to read it.

Saturday was the large book splurge. The Friends of the Library group once a month host a book sell and this is a very dangerous day for me. While the purchase is never expensive (less than two dollars yesterday) I always end up with a stack of books that will most likely be used to collect dust, prop open doors, and for me to stub my toe on during nightly rambles through a dark house. Yesterday I ended up with: Hedda Gabler and Other Plays by Henrik Ibsen, Washington Square and The Europeans by Henry James, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Foucault’s Pendelum by Umberto Eco, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, and The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan.

I think it is safe to say that I have a problem!