One of the best compliments I ever received came in December of 1996 while I was in Los Angeles visiting my friend Doug. It was the day after Christmas, we were sitting in a bar, and my navel piercing had just been reworked with a dangling sun. As we finished our first pitcher of beer, Doug looked at me and said, “You’re one of the most well-read people I know.” I’ll never forget that, because those words are So Much Better than, “Nice chest.” or “Good work with the liquid eyeliner, Cleopatra!”
It has been a few years since I read a book that made me feel smart. And I realize that feeling smart while reading isn’t necessarily a goal shared by many. BUT, to me, feeling smart while reading is sort of like drinking the perfect salted caramel hot chocolate while strolling around after dark wearing my favorite shoes and coat and heading toward an old movie theater with Jeff to watch Amélie. And, what was that? Oh! It’s just starting to snow!
(Side story: I just reached up to scratch my neck and found that it had been bleeding. So now I’m sort of living a Flaming Lips song, and that hardly ever happens. (Words begin at 1:18, and although I really love the song, I wouldn’t advise you to watch the video if the sight of blood makes you feel oogey.) )
A few months back, Jeff and I attended a wedding where I bonded with a woman over tattoos and vodka. Last month, we serendipitously ran into each other again as I was working in the yarn store. As strange as it sounds, we sort of knew that our friendship was meant to be, so we traded information and have now formed a book club. And I’m feeling very enthusiastic. And if you know me at all, you know that I’m rarely turned up to Enthusiastic.
Yesterday I took an hour out of my day to fill up my Facebook “Books I Have Read” page. As I filled it out, I started feeling sparked to free up some time for reading. This morning I read this article, and now I’m roasting. Broiling, even. In fact, tonight just might find me putting the vampire books aside and diving into something more gristly. And I think this phase will be kicked off with more David Foster Wallace. Because, seriously. Read the article.
Today: Cleaned the family room a bit, took Harper to The Little Gym, shared a bowl of lima beans, type type type type type for Day 7, will clean some more, perhaps knit a bit, get Meredith from the bus stop, go to Target to search for chocolate brown sheets, celebrate Meredith’s month of reading with a free pizza at Pizza Hut, knit a bit more (I’m really focusing on this and this right now.), and then in bed by 9:30 to read!
32 thoughts on “NaBloPoMo Day 7: Back to Bibliophagery!”
Love Walked In by Marisa Los Santos (or something like that.) It’s a kicky little work of fiction in which the good writing and powerful storyline outweighs the annoyances of the prose (which includes an 11-year-old who thinks and speaks like a 36-year-old). It is worth it, though. Kind of like Gilmore Girls in novel form. But better.
My favorite things lately that have made me feel smart are “Freakonomics” and “The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World” about a guy who read the ENTIRE encyclopedia…cover to cover.
Narrow Dog to Carcasonne by Terry Darlington: through England, across the Channel and down through the French canal system to the Med. Unusual, funny, exciting and lyrical (he’s a Welsh poet) and I read it too fast and can’t wait for the sequel Narrow Dog to Indian River where he does the same thing along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway from Virginia to the Gulf of Mexico. (It’s out now but it’s going to be a Christmas present – how many sleeps is that now?)
I’m not reading anything right now because I’m doing nowrimo. But I am jonesing for some Douglas Coupland because that show the Office reminds me of him and also “What I talk about when I talk about Running.” Because I actually wish I were Haruki Murakami.
I have to say I’m very happy that you’re participating in blopomo so I can see something from you everyday.
The David Foster Wallace article is heartbreaking, to say the least.
I’ve read a lot of his stuff and hearted Infinite Jest so much that I have no love left for the rest of the world. Sad, sure, but man….what a great book.
I read Consider the Lobster this past summer and it was splendid, as well. The essay on his time spent around people in the porn industry and his attendance of the AVN awards was easily worth the price of admission.
are you knitting those, because – yum. they make me wan to learn how to knit yesterday.
i need to figure out what books i want to read, but i have to let my brain form back into a solid mass from the pregnancy-induced liquidity.
Oh my, that is a beautiful scarf. You should feel smart just for picking out such a poetic project.
I really enjoyed The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell.
Soft porn from HarperCollins’ Red imprint. What, I should lie to you? Feh.
In a creepy aside, I am sort of also knitting a baby blanket while I’m reading the soft porn…
I am reading Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud. It’s great so far but the closer I get to Sept 11th in the story (it’s a major part of the plot) the slower I read. Not sure I’ll ever get through it at this point. But the writing is fabulous.
“Animal’s People” (http://www.indrasinha.com/animal.html) which I picked up on a clearance table at the Copenhagen airport solely because it was in English. Short-listed for the Man Booker prize, and justifiably so. An emotionally challenging, but increasingly compelling read. I’m half-way through, and heading to bed very early tonight so I can wallow in the second half.
Writing Better Lyrics- Pat Pattison
Tunesmith- Jimmy Webb
Hopefully I’ll be smarter- and a better songwriter- at the end of these.
I seem incapable of reading much while mothering small children. When my oldest was under 5, I suspended most book reading and I seem to be doing it again with the triplets. Besides, there is a whole internet to read! My husband is out-reading me right now- he is reading The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski and he highly recommends it.
oh, i have such a crush—physical and mental—on dfw.
the last book i read….that was not written by dr.seuss…? um. oh! i made it about 3/4 of the way through “j-pod” by douglas coupland. i wasn’t crazy about it, but i would highly highly recommend his older book, “microserfs.” so awesome.
Oh man, that David Foster Wallace article just crushed me. sniff, sniff, I think I have something in my eye.
Click: What Millions of People do Online and Why it Matters — because I’m nosy that way.
And a variety of random romance novels, because it gives my eyes something to do while my brain relaxes.
I’ve only read A Supposedly Fun Thing… by DFW. Nonetheless, I was pretty heartbroken over his death. When I read what his mother said after he died (“He was so brave!”), well, that nearly did me in. It’s on my to-do list for 2009 to read Infinite Jest.
For now, I’m just trying to get through my New Yorkers. And I’m going to read the article you linked to when the kids aren’t climbing all over me.
Also, brown sheets! Did you find them?? I need some too!!!
(Hmm…interesting use of the word “need”, don’t you think? I mean, yes, there are people starving in other parts of the world. Do I honestly *need* brown sheets?)
((Wondering now whether three comments in a row will give me a reprieve on a couple of intended “comment every day during NoMoBlahPo” I’m guessing not.))
I’m reading Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo. I dig it. Though my favorite Richard Russo is Straight Guy.
I used to love David Foster Wallace. I read the ENTIRE Infinite Jest when I was in college. I still think about putting glasses over roaches as a form of pest control. Wierd. Yet effective. Yet so disturbing. LOVED HIM. Oh, it makes me sad.
I’m all about Barbara Kingsolver these days.
And yes, that’s easily one of the best compliments I can think of. Relish it!
My book club just read Amsterdam by Ian McEwen. A good short novel, I think it won the Booker prize one year.
For online reading, I have to push a fascinating series of articles by Newsweek called Secrets of the 2008 Campaign. The whole series is LONG but it’s broken up into chapters and covers what was going on behind the scenes in the Obama/Clinton/McCain campaigns. I highly recommend it!
Currently reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
I was hooked on page 1.
I’m not reading anything with any substance to it unless you count a book about stalking substantial.
From September through November I read nothing but murder mysteries that are set in autumn. Then in December and January I read the ones set at Christmas time.
I love every cheesy moment of it.
Being told I’m funny is the best feeling in the entire world, I confess and being told I’m smart? A close second. What can I say? Some things never change.
I’m a graduate student, so I spend a lot of time reading things that end up making me feel dumb, but when I want to have fun and feel smart, I go for The New Yorker or The Believer (or, just as good and more concentrated, the collections of Nick Hornby book reviews from The Believer).
Oh my gosh – I have just read the most absolutely beautifully written and at the same time most heartwrenching story that you could ever possibly imagine.
“The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” – by John Boyne.
My father was a history junkie – knew everything you could ever need to know – and also an expert on the Holocaust. He passed down to me this “need” to not let the Holocaust be forgotten, as it’s survivors grow older & older. So I’ve read a lot on the subject. But this book – THIS BOOK – OH MY GOSH. Written from the eyes of an 8 year old German boy, who has no idea what is going on, and befriends a boy through a fence who is in Auschwitz – which is just in his own backyard.
And although sad – and gutwrenching – and tear jerking – this is seriouly THE MOST INSPIRING book. EVER.
That’s all I can say. You have to read it to understand. It is so good. Too good for lowercase. THAT GOOD.
Please – please – PLEASE read this book. You will love it too. I promise.
Ok, I’m done now. Can you tell I loved this book?
*rolling eyes at myself*
And I apologize at the intensity of my post. But not really. When I love a book, I get obsessively passionate about it. Hence the CAPS.
Please, Angela – you have seriously got to read this book…
FYI-It’s also a movie, playing very limited release in the US now…
I’ve become a pathetic reader, and my to read list is full of books to review. But one thing we have in common, we both go to Pizza Hut for the Book-It program!
I tend toward genre fiction, like scifi/fantasy, romance/erotica, mystery/suspense, or my favorite: a combination thereof! Lately I’ve been reading off of the Juvenile Fiction(Philip Pullman, Tamora Pierce, Robin McKinley) shelf from my local public library and enjoying the heck out of it.
Regarding brown sheets, last year I found a sumptuous, chocolaty-brown set at Home Goods on Lindbergh at Big Bend.
I admit, I didn’t even read the comments so I probably am not even remotely qualified to answer a question about reading anything else, but don’t worry… I will anyway. ;-)
Right now, I’m reading The HERetic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent. I wouldn’t put it anywhere near the “feel smart while reading” category, but it does have a nice cover. (I *know* but I just can’t help judging them!) Which of course doesn’t usually bode well for the whole feeling smart while reading thing either, does it?! *sigh* I’m only a chapter or two in, but it does seem like a nice little story thus far.
I used to like feeling smart while reading, too. I also had a vocabulary to feel proud of. I should get back to it, especially the vocabulary part. Unfortunately I think what was left of it after kid #1 spilled from my uterus with the afterbirth of kid #2.
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