Thursday, January 22, 2009

My First Love(s)

Anyone who knows a bean about me knows that I am a huge bookworm, and even if I don't get an opportunity to read much, I am and always will be a reader at heart.

Anyhow, Monday night I went through my book shelf to find a book, and came across all my loves again: Fay Weldon, my huge book of all of Shakespeare's work, a collection of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, my Toni Morrisons (minus The Bluest Eye, which I lent to a friend and never got back but that's ok), my poetry books from Hamline MALS program (Every Shut Eye Ain't Asleep!), Pablo Neruda and Borges - wow, I couldn't keep my eyes off of them and had to start taking them off the shelf to literally caress them! Sick, I know!

Anyhow, I got inspired to write this post today after reading a favorite book blog where the author had mentioned The Yellow Wallpaper (Charlotte Perkins Gilman), a Hamline short story classic that reminds me of why I love reading so much. I am going to go back and read that short story again.

I go through these stages of what I will/will not read. In grad school I was mainly into poetry and literary works of nonfiction about education and such. When I start teaching my TEFL class I get into reading all my TESOL Quarterlies and Essential Teacher Magazines, or lovely books titled "Exploring Second Language Assessment". When Tin was born I couldn't read for about 2 years, and that was a real dry spell, for some reason when I was pregnant (and then afterwards also) I didn't have the concentration, resolution, interest (all three?) to pick up a book. Luckily I haven't had that problem with Nicolas, and so have started reading again.

One thing I have found that I am able to do now that I'm older (and love doing) is reading more than one book at a time - I may have four sitting around at a time, all of which grab my interest at some point in time. I never thought I'd like to have more than one book going at a time, but I guess I had just never tried it.

At the moment I am reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. It started out really good and has since gotten a little slower (it is really long) but I like it anyway. Next I will try to hunt down the Twilight series. I just finished David Mitchell's Black Swan Green and really enjoyed it. I have his Ghostwritten and wasn't such a fan the first time around, but may have to go back and look at it through new eyes one of these days.

I have also got The Panama Hat Trail by Tom Miller going, and it should be fun as it takes place mainly in Ecuador (Panama Hats are actually made in Ecuador and just got their name from the port where they were peddled out to the rest of the world- um, for those a little slower on the uptake, that would be Panama!). By the way, for anyone who wants to read a great book about Ecuador and a little of its (and the world's history), I would highly recommend The Mapmaker's Wife by Robert Whitaker. There aren't that many novels out there about Ecuador, but this one is excellent! It is a little about the French expedition that came to Ecuador to measure and locate the equator.

I have been reading a lot more fluff lately, too, like mystery and suspense. Not my usually choice of literature, but I can get through a paperback in a day and also like the fact that I can read while in line or waiting for a bus (not that I ever do that, it's just an example! lol) and not have to worry about the plot too much (i.e. no thinking involved).

Rereading Elizabeth Alexander's Antebellum Dream Book again, and hope to find her newest this summer. May have to order it online, I think I read somewhere they will only be printing out 20,000 copies. Will everybody start reading her now, like they did with Maya Angelou?

Nonfiction is another thing I never liked much, but as I get older I find myself drawn more and more to it. I don't have a chance to get much nonfiction down here but will be looking this summer in MN for some books I can bring home, so send me those nonfiction book recommendations!