Many people seem to think that, as a librarian, I have lots of time to read books. Ha!! Not even close. In fact, just about the only time I read a book is during my lunch break at work, which means it takes me a while to finish a volume. At home, I’m just too busy with sewing projects, cooking, and spending time with my husband, it’s rare for me to sit down, shut out the world, and lose myself in the written word. Sometimes I read at night just before I go to sleep, but that kind of reading is a little different. But I figured I’d take a moment to share some of the books I’ve read this year. No Amazon or other book seller links; you can check your local public library for them, or hunt them down for purchase. 🙂
I just finished a book by Rosemary Mahoney, and I think the majority of the English-speaking population should read it. “For the Benefit of Those Who See: Dispatches from the World of the Blind” tells of the experience the author had working with blind children and adults in Tibet and India. Even if you don’t know a single blind person, you really should read this book. Many of us feel (over dramatically) that we would rather die than go blind, and Mahoney’s writing makes very clear that there are many worse things than going blind that could happen to us. Mahoney’s story telling, as well as her looking at the history of how the blind were educated (or not), is fascinating. One word of warning: the book begins with a graphic description of eye surgery, so don’t start reading it while you are eating (unless you have a really strong stomach!).
My library director knows that I quilt, so when she orders a quilt-related book she makes sure I get the first chance to read it. (There are SOME perks to working at a library!) She ordered “Quilting With a Modern Slant: People, Patterns and Techniques Inspiring the Modern Quilt Community” by Rachel May. Even if you aren’t a “modern quilter”, this is an interesting read that looks at some of the history of this kind of quilting. There are some fun projects included, too, one of which I’m tempted to try. I don’t consider myself a modern quilter, more of a contemporary quilter. Still, I really liked this book for the personalities she spotlighted and the projects she discussed, and I suspect I’ll be checking it out again when I’m ready to try that modern project.
Every once in a while I like to read a classic book. Somewhere I found out about the book “Last Days of Pompeii” by Edward Lytton. I borrowed the copy from the library (printed in 1946 — had to be gentle with it), but couldn’t get very far before someone else put a reserve on it. Happy day, I found a copy on Project Gutenberg’s website, and downloaded it to the Kindle I use. Talk about flowery writing: I’ll be honest, there are sections where my eyes just start skimming the text to get to the next part of the story. But it’s written in a different way, showing the author knows what’s going to happen to the characters after the volcano erupts, and mentioning what was left of a particular house when it was excavated. Things like, “she never got to wear that necklace, and it can still be seen on display in that house today.” A little off-putting. The author also spends a lot of time talking about the pagan Italian religion and the new “Nazarenes” who are making waves in the region. I’m only about halfway through the book, so I can’t comment on the ending. Kind of like stories about the Titanic, I think I know how it ends. 🙂
My bedtime reading. Well, it tends not to be reading as much as looking at pictures: I like looking at comic strip books before I sleep. Get Fuzzy, Knight Life, Pearls Before Swine, Rose is Rose, Unshelved, Sheldon, … I have a large collection of these books by my bedside. Lately I’ve been hooked on re-reading all the Moomin books by Tove Jansson. Just finished “Moominland Winter” last night. One of the things about Moomin books is how much they strike me as being both for kids and adults. In this one, one character spends much of his time wishing for something; and when it comes to be, he realizes what an idiot he was and that he was about to die. This isn’t your typical children’s storyline! Of course, because it IS a children’s book, the character lives. (Hope I didn’t spoil anything for you!)
Do I like every book I read? No. In fact, I recently started reading a series: liked the first book so much I recommended it to the Children’s Librarian, started reading the second book, and realized I couldn’t finish it. The series is by Mike Mullin, and the first book, “Ashfall”, really engrossed me. I am into movies that feature natural disasters (okay, so reading a book about Pompeii should have been a clue!), so I liked the attempts at realistic science in this book. But the main character gets injured a lot. Okay, I’ll buy that could happen, especially when you are adjusting to a new normal. But when I was reading the second book, I suddenly got weary of the injuries, and the overwhelming negatives that were surrounding everyone. Couldn’t something happy happen, even in such a grim landscape? Does the main character have to be the only nice person left? I tried really hard to continue liking the book, and to keep reading, but I finally gave up. In fact, I did something I almost never do: I read the last two pages of the book. When I saw them, I totally gave up and returned the book (we had borrowed it from another library). I know some others really liked this series (their Facebook discussion is what started me on it), so you might like it. We all have our reading tolerances.
Have any books you’d like to recommend? I’m always interested in what people are reading, even if it’s only comic strips, comic books, or online web toons. Reading is reading, and is as personal as how you take your coffee. 🙂