Reading as a way of life

September 26, 2007

I have been honored by awareness to share some of my relationships with the books that inhabit my life. Here we go:

My Reading: Well like many of you out there in blogland I read a good deal. Not even taking into account how much I read online(blogs, news, email, etc.) I am always in the middle of a book. If you’ve read my sidebar you can see that I am in graduate school. I read for hours every week from my textbooks and school articles as well as the posts and responses put online by my classmates. For pleasure I have one assigned book a month through my book club (this month is The Book of Salt by Monique Truong) and I usually squeeze in a book or two throughout the rest of the month. Secretly I wish that I would write more and read less but I find that reading is so much easier and wins out more often than not. Though I keep trying!

Total number of books owned: I have not counted but I would say a couple of hundred. Although it feels more like I am borrowing them because I have no problem lending any of them away. (Librarian mentality!) I probably own more books now than in any other time period in my life. I’m a light traveler on this earth and don’t feel too much pull to a particular volume. The ones in the library are always fine by me.

Last book read and bought: Unfortunately I cannot find my textbooks in libraries so I must purchase them. My last two purchases were Copyright for Schools: A Practical Guide by Carol Simpson and Library 2.0: Innovative Technologies and Tomorrow’s Users edited by Nancy Courtney. I’m sure both of these selections are tops on your wishlist!

Five meaningful books: An impossible task to define a mere five but here we go!

  • Tropic of Capricorn by Henry Miller: I came across this book in a moment of magical serendipity. Walking into a used bookstore its plain cover caught my eye and I had this knowing feeling that attracted me immediately. Of course I didn’t completely trust my intuition and carried it around the store for awhile browsing around and considering whether it was worth $3.50. If only I would have known at that moment how much joy would pour into my life I’d have never questioned the purchase. Fortunately I walked out with it in my hand and my reading life was incalculably altered.
  • Krishnamurti to Himself by Jiddu Krishnamurti: Honestly I could pick out any volume by K and feel the same awe and homecoming. Although not my first tasting of “spiritual literature” K broke open my mind and offered a radically different lens from which to view everything. I have since explored other teacher’s writings but his words still ring true.
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky: A book that showed me the possibilities of the novel. A discourse on the nature of man and the possibility of forgiveness but also a really good psychological thriller. Once you get a hang of the the variations and length of the Russian names you will be amazed by the writing and brilliance of ideas.
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffennegger: For the sheer pleasure and ingenuity I need to include this book on the list. People I know who have read this book either love it or put it down within the first few chapters. Scenes from the novel still come back to me and I think this book created one of the best conversations in our book club. What role does fate play in our actions? How much control do we really have? Also there is a beautiful love story that anchors all of it.
  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan: I just recently finished this book and still it resonates with me. Pollan does excellent investigative work to discover how the food we consume gets to our plates and the people that play a role in that service.

I will pass the baton to these fine folks: Patois, Karen, and Betty C. Anyone else that would like to share their reading please link here or write in the comments.

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7 Responses to “Reading as a way of life”

  1. awareness Says:

    What an interesting, intriguing list Matthew….thanks for taking it on. It is a difficult thing to do, isn’t it……to pick just a few?
    I’ve never read Miller’s classic, nor Crime and Punishment. I did read The Idiot which I should probably pull out again and read it over because I would absorb more of it now I think. The novel was the first present my husband bought me when we started dating. How daunting was that?? Thank God the next present was a baseball glove!!

    I’ve thought too about picking up the time travellers wife…and will do so now.

    thanks……

    take care

  2. Karen Says:

    Thank you for tagging me! I love, love, love the Time Traveler’s Wife…I was just thinking of reading it for the 3rd time, but I think I have lent it out….again.

  3. Betty C. Says:

    Thank you Matthew. I haven’t been Sunday Scribbling much lately, but I would like to do this meme — it’s an interesting one. I’ll get to it this weekend.

    Funny, I could NOT get into the Time Traveler’s Wife. Maybe I just felt too sleepy whenever I was reading it…

  4. clary Says:

    I also read a lot. Thanks for sharing your five books. I might try to do the same on my blog sometime. Happy reading!

  5. Matthew Says:

    Yes awareness very difficult to choose, a good meme might be the five books you’d take with you to an island. The Idiot, that is some first gift!

    Yes Karen it is a fun read, I too have read it twice.

    Betty you are not the only one I know who could not get into it, my Dad tried and soon after put it down.

    Hi Clary, thanks for stopping by!


  6. Interesting thoughts and excellent list. I love Dosteovsky’s work and have Time Traveller’s Wife on my bookshelf, along with way too many other books waiting to be read.

  7. Betty C. Says:

    Matthew, I did rise to the occasion and do the meme! It just took some thinking. Even at that, I didn’t torture myself with the “5 meaningful books” question — I just wrote the ones that came to mind.

    Here is the link to my post:

    http://and-so-forth.blogspot.com/2007/10/what-nice-surprise-matthew-of-common.html

    Thanks for the invitation!


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