Sunday, May 31, 2009

I am a Reader

I read voraciously. I read every single day. If I'm upset, or sad or confused, I'll sit down for a bit of a read to calm down. If I'm happy or excited or content---I'll do the same. I need books like I need food, and for those friends out there who are familiar with my metabolism, you know what I'm saying is significant.

My first memory of reading is of sitting up in bed, my back resting against my pink painted, wicker headboard with the big letter "E" on it. I must have been about six years old. I had a colorful illustrated book about undersea explorers propped up on my knees. The background was of deep turquoise water with all manner of fish, seaweed, and sealife depicted. I vividly remember the feeling of looking at that book and "reading" and being indescribably, in bed with my nightstand light on (also pink) and my book! It was a totally blissful moment.

Reading is very important to me. I never go without a book somewhere in my day. I need to read myself to sleep, as it is often the ONLY way to shut my mind up long enough to drift off. If I am getting towards the bottom of the stack of books, I make a trip to the library....I can't afford to run out of reading material----ever.

Image from which sports the quote:

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend.
Inside a dog, it's too dark to read.

-Groucho Marx

I once had a boyfriend who, in a gesture of intimacy, asked me about my reading. I should've been awakened to the fact that our relationship was going sour by my immediate unwillingness to share my love of books with him. Reading was my business! My bastion of solitude. He didn't really care anyway, and given his vicious sarcastic bent, I just couldn't set up my love of books for his ever-seeking targeting system of insults. (I do remember once, with this same boyfriend, laying in bed reading before sleep. I was reading, "Conan the Defiant" and he was reading, "The Origin of Conciousness and the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.)

The best book I have ever read in my entire life is "Housekeeping," by Marilynne Robinson. I read this when I was 18 and it was so beautiful, poetic and perfect. I cried when I finished reading it. I save it for special occasions.....and allow myself to read it only once every few years.

My sister and I once went on a 5 day, 32 mile mountain pass hiking trip. I had brought 3 paperbacks, feeling that they might get me through the week long trip. On the last night out on the trail....I was out of books. Lili had only gotten half way through her book (an Agatha Christie novel) and I begged her to give it to me. Of course she refused! I then reasoned with her; since she had already read half the book, she didn't need that first half, did she? and convinced her to tear the book in half so I could read the beginning.

I ususally keep an even balance of fiction to non-fiction. Once, I felt like perhaps I was spending too much time in other people's fantasies and decided I should go on a month-long "Fiction Fast." I thought long and hard about how I would get through a month like that and promptly got a really, really bad stomach ache. And bagged the whole idea.

My current reads:

Et tu?


BookGirl said...

Love this post, E. I love reading too - always have. When I was a child, my favorite event of the week was my trip to the library. A bit nerdy, I know.

I'm about 3/1 fiction to nonfiction. Right now I'm reading Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonders (occasioned by a book I'm making with a theme of "cabinet of curiosities);" The Song is You, by Arthur Phillips, who wrote Prague, a book I liked; The Red & the Black, which I missed in college and which is leaving me cold; and Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit, which is terrific.


Lili said...

I just finished a marathon of books- The Glass Castle (grim autobiography of growing up with horrible parents), The Woods (mystery- not so good), and Edgar Sawtell (which, oddly enough, although I was bogged down by the authors wordy word smithing I keep thinking about it). My next readings will be entirely about Women in the Klondike- at least until I find what I'm looking for.

Chrissy Johnson said...

I read about three-four books simultaneously. It's simply like breathing to me. I really, really enjoyed reading this post - have just put Housekeeping on hold at the hearing about books that have been influential in people's lives.

Anonymous said...

Thank Fromage for the bike loan offer. I'll check out what he has to see what fits when we get into town. Does he have SPD pedals or other clips? I can bring my SPD's along. We'll be driving up from Anchorage on Wednesday the 17th and staying at Lili's.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the bike update. Cool that Fromage wants to ride along, the more the merrier. Any of your other biking cohorts coming along? I may use his or see if I can rent a cyclocross bike from the place at AK Land. I want to see how those ride. See you in a couple weeks.


Anonymous said...

I don't have your email, but ours is:

That would be much more efficient to correspond.

Your friend shouldn't be intimidated, we're doing a fun, leisurely ride. Not hammering to finish.

Leanne Pizio said...

Oh! I love books too. They truly are another person in my life that I have to spend time with each day. Like you, I am a voracious reader, flying through books. It is like eating candy.
Right now I am eating: The Portrait of and Unknown Woman by Vanora Bennett. It is good and I like it but it is a little wordy in areas that slow it down.
I just finished The Duchess (can't remember who wrote it) but it was fabulous!
And I am rereading Hamlet.
Can't wait to go to the library and get Housekeeping...I have never heard of it.
Thanks for this was wonderful.

leanne said...

Hey Eero,
I brought some seed pods home from Lake Ontario thinking of your drawings and paintings. They are water chestnuts from the lake. Have you seen them? I have plenty if you would ever want them as subjects for your work.
Let me know and I will send them on.

johnny said...

I was just in D.C. FOR JENNY's b-day....I found her copy of HOUSEKEEPING and would read it until I got too sleepy every night...(I have been hunting for a passage in it where she describes a ferry...still haven't found it starting to wonder if it may be from another source) were the one who introduced me to that thanx...(It even had the same cover as yours....)

Good luck with the show...
I hope I can come visit when you are in Vermont!!!