Here’s today’s Fancy Word for Simple journaling prompt. It was accompanied by a photograph of a stack of books. My pile of books—partially read, waiting to be read—is considerably higher than the one posted. In fact, it fills a bookcase. I used to feel guilty about it until I read a little volume last year entitled The Little Guide to Your Well-read Life. Leveen says that it’s important to have books in your library that you know you’ll want to read eventually. The old adage: too many books, too little time, certainly fits.
“I had just taken to reading. I had just discovered the art of leaving my body to sit impassive in a crumpled up attitude in a chair or sofa, while I wandered over the hills and far away in novel company and new scenes... My world began to expand very rapidly,... the reading habit had got me securely.”
H. G. Wells
Okay. I’ll admit it—today’s Trendy Tuesday is completely selfish on my part. I’m a reading teacher aka a reading nerd, geek, or dork. The picture above is actually my stack of unfinished (in some cases unstarted) books. I'm a chronic non-finisher when it comes to books--especially those I really love. If I don't finish them, it's like they never end.
Tell me about who you are as a reader. What are you reading right now? What are some of your habits as a reader? Best book you’ve ever read? Worst book you’ve ever read?
I am always reading a book. Currently I’m reading three—two nonfiction and one fiction. The best of the bunch is a wonderful collection of essays written by famous and ordinary folks for NPR’s “This I Believe” program. I read about a third of the book at Sarah’s while I was visiting last week, and bought my own copy when I returned. I’m reading one essay a day as inspiration during Lent. I’m also reading a collection of profiles and essays by the late Marjorie Williams called The Woman at the Washington Zoo. I’ve learned a fair bit, and find most of her writing thought-provoking and interesting. I still have the last third of the book to go. I think this will be more difficult to read as these are the pieces she wrote as she unsuccessfully battled cancer as a mother with young children.
I’ve read a lot of great books. It would be hard to pick one as a favorite. Recent favorites from the last year would be Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, and The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.
The worst book I ever read was Tom Wolf’s Bonfire of the Vanities. I couldn’t find one character I liked or anything redeeming about the characters or the plot. Usually if I really dislike a book I abandon it, but I finished Wolf’s because it was a book group selection. Truth is, I don’t always finish those if I don’t like them. My allotment of reading time is so small, that I’ve come to resent time reading books I don’t like.
My book group, by the way, is a group of four couples. We’ve been reading together since 1990, and it’s a diverse and interesting group of people. We go out to dinner and then to someone's house for dessert, coffee, and discussion. It's become one of my favorite social events. I’ve read a lot of fascinating books I would never had found if not for this book group. We’ve even taken an overnight field trip to tour the sights of one of our favorite book group books—City of Light by Lauren Belfer. It’s a great historical (mystery) novel about Buffalo, NY, at the turn of the century and the development of hydroelectricity using Niagara Falls. We even got a private, hard-hat tour of the power plant as part of our field trip!