Last week’s post about To Kill a Mockingbird got me to thinking about my reading habits, and then I wondered how many of you explore books in the manner that I do. So, let’s start with some questions, OK? How do you read? Do you find a good book and stick with it until you’re done? Or do you have a stack on your end table, authors calling out to you to pick them up?
Teresa is the former. She reads with a strong dedication and a laser focus, two traits that serve to make her a superb musician. Whether she starts a novel or a non-fiction, she makes time to get after it throughout the day, grinding away until she finishes.
Me? I’m the latter. At any one time, I’m reading six or seven books. Maybe two or three of those I read every day, and the others I pick up when the spirit moves. I begin each morning by observing a devotional, either using one poem or a single essay to whet my reading appetite for the day. For the past couple of years, I have read the fabulous prose of Brian Doyle and the delightful poetry of Barbara Kingsolver and Mary Oliver. I always have a book on spirituality to crack open early in the day, anything from John O’Donohue to Matthew Fox to Ram Dass. Late afternoons I turn to novels, and I’m currently three-fourths of the way through Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore, a fantasy with twin narratives that look as if they’re about to meet up before my very eyes. Together, those books provide a foundation for each day, and I augment the selections with non-fiction, primarily political or historical, but I might slip in something by Michio Kaku or Ken Wilber when I want to stretch my brain. There’s always a book club selection that I’m reading each week, and right now that’s a rereading for me of Anthony Doerr’s wonderful Cloud Cuckoo Land.
Oh, and I have a book that Ellen gave me for Christmas, The Annotated Godfather (forward by Francis Ford Coppola) that I sample a little bit of each week, along with another rereading, this time with notes, of James Joyce’s Ulysses. I assure you that the former is much easier to stick with.
Teresa can’t understand how I keep all of these books straight, but I tell her it’s like watching several television series or watching multiple ballgames every week. I don’t seem to have any trouble keeping the plots of Better Call Saul and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel straight, or getting confused about who scored the last touchdown for the Michigan State basketball team.
Well, anyway, I eat a variety of foods every day, why not pursue a variety of readings?
That’s about it. I really don’t have anything deeply philosophical to add. I was just curious as to how we all approach our reading. I guess the important thing is that we do.
Read on, my friends!