I have what you might call a problem finishing books. It isn’t that I don’t enjoy reading, since I probably read about a book per week at a minimum. The issue is more one of over-enthusiasm. I catch myself browsing our book collection looking for my next reading hit while still in the middle of the last one. It’s gotten so bad that I’ve run out of conventional bookmarks and have started using the postcards Peter’s parents send him on a regular basis (and with a large collection of postcards from the past few years there’s nothing stopping me). Here is an abbreviated list (not including any of the half-finished books from the library, which are, thank goodness, no longer around to haunt me):
- Anna Karenina (by Tolstoy): this book just never dies. At some point I forgot the beginning of the story and then I forgot the half-dozen names for each character, at which point things started not making sense. I think the only way to read this book is to glom it, start to finish, a practice I reserve for Harry Potter.
- Emma (by Jane Austen): the mistake I made with this one was reading the literary spiel at the beginning. By the time I started the actual story I was too intimidated to enjoy it, so instead I watched the BBC version. Perhaps now I should start reading it again…
- The Table Comes First (by Adam Gopnik): this is the book Peter gave me for Christmas as wrapping paper for a gift card to the amazing Stonemountain and Daughter fabric store in Berkeley. Unfortunately I have treated it as such, reading the first couple of chapters before I decided that the history of restaurants is rather dull. Given the great reviews I’ve seen of this book, I really need to get over myself and get to what I imagine is a good part. Somewhere.
- The Hours (by Michael Cunningham): I thought I could handle reading this book after seeing the movie version, but it’s just so hard to read about sad things. A part of me also loved the movie so much that I don’t want the book to ruin it. Now that is sad.
- Everything is Illuminated (by Jonathan Safran Foer): This was my morning reading book during the “winter”, when I would wake up and be so chilly that I would stand in front of the heater for 15 minutes every morning until I could bear it (being tired, cold, and awake). It was glorious. Now it’s spring time and I’ve moved on.
- The Light of Evening (by Edna O’Brien): my current upstairs book (both Peter and I have upstairs and downstairs books to read, because who can be bothered to walk up a flight of stairs?). I like it because it’s about people in Ireland and what life was like a hundred years ago (although it goes up to the present later on, I’m told). There’s all this jargon that I don’t understand and can’t be bothered to look up because I’m reading in bed, which just adds to the mystery. I was experimenting with reading a book without a bookmark (quite successfully, I might add) until Peter’s parents sent us a postcard and took me out of my misery.
- The Seed Underground — A Growing Revolution to Save Food (by Janisse Ray): a library book about saving seeds and my current downstairs book. I wasn’t expecting it to be political, so I was caught off-guard by some scary facts that I choose to half-ignore so I don’t have to run away from home and join a secret seed activist sect. It does help to put the history of agriculture in perspective though, and has encouraged me to start saving more seeds… which I suppose is the book’s ultimate agenda. Got me.
In case you aren’t interested in books, here is a photo of a chocolate medallion Peter and I ate in Naples. You’re welcome!