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I recently finished the Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee. Alongside a history of bookselling, Buzbee talks about his own book lust. One of my favorite sections of the book was when he talks about the Scholastic Weekly Reader that little order form for books you got at school. I don’t remember it having puzzles, but I do remember going through it with a fine tooth comb trying to figure out what to buy. I was a sucker for the deals like buy three books and get a poster. What I liked about Buzbee, was that like me he was an aimless reader. I’m still a very impulsive reader.
I’m not exactly sure how to fill in the blanks for the origin of my booklust though:
“It’s a common story; fill in your own blanks; I was ___ years old when I happened on a novel called ___ and within six months I had read every other book by the writer known as ___.”
It’s not a cool answer, but it might have been John Bellairs, some time when I was in elementary school. When I was older, it was probably a book of poetry by Sharon Olds or Adrienne Rich. Or, maybe Hermann Hesse. Later it was definitely Barbara Kingsolver but I was long gone by then.
I finished District and Circle by Seamus Heaney a few nights ago. It took me three tries (not because I didn’t like it, but I just kept losing it or not finishing it by the time it was due). It is just what you would hope and expect from Heaney – down to the earth. He also explores some of the things in our daily lives that make us a little uncomfortable, whether it’s a memory or acknowledging a street musician. Of course there’s a nod to Classical lit. and a sequence about the Tollund Man. My favorite poems where the two sequences of sonnets “District and Circle” and “Tollund Man in Springtime.” This volume is filled with what I call Heaneyisms. Really, they’re just hyphenated words. Here’s a few:
flicker-lit, this-worldly, god-beamed, sleet-glit, grey-gristed, sixth-sensed, bog-pooled, milk-fevered, keen-sensed
I was pleased to hear an interview with Heaney discussing this book on public radio while I was on bed-rest at the end of my pregnancy. It was one of the only good things about being on bed rest.
Since I’ve had G, it’s been harder to fit poetry in. I try to read one poem a night, but that just doesn’t seem to work. The slim poetry books get lost under tomes like The Baby Book or The Happiest Toddler on the Block (I need to stay one step ahead, ha!). But, here’s a few that I want to get through. I’m currently reading Seamus Heaney’s District and Circle. This is my third try. I like this much better than Electric Light. It is more in the vain of Heaney a la Death of a Naturalist. Heaney is the master of the hyphenated word in this volume. Next is Mahmoud Darwish’s The Butterfly’s Burden. Darwish was born in Palestine but lived in exile until 1996. Now he splits his time between Palestine and Jordan. This is a bilingual edition of three of his books. Finally, there’s The Republic of Poetry by Martin Espada. He’s been compared to Pablo Neruda. He gave a reading when I was in grad school, and he seemed very down to earth, which is always refreshing. Well here goes…
I’m looking forward to Michael Chabon’s Yiddish Policeman’s Union and Michael Ondaatje’s Divisadero. I loved Chabon’s books The Wonder Boys and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. The details are wonderful in both. I was just waiting to see how he would pull off the tuba, the dead dog and the boa constricter and he does just under “over the top.” The movie for The Wonder Boys was great, too, even though I really dislike Michael Douglas.
Ondaatje has a completely different style – lush and poetic. Both authors are the kind of authors that when I read one book, I have to go out and read as many of their other books as I can. I’ve been waiting for something new from Michael Ondaatje since I read Anil’s Ghost and according to the cover, this one is supposed to be his “most intimate and beautiful novel to date.” Sigh. It’s going to be a good May!
When I start any project, I have to go nuts and read everything about it. I wouldn’t exactly call a baby a project, but I feel like I have to read every parenting book there is out there. I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. Well I have an idea, but I feel like there might be something really important that I might be missing. Of course, now that G is 8 months old, I read about all the things I should have done when he was first born. So far I haven’t done anything horribly wrong, but there are things I may have done differently.
I just finished reading a book called the Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderland. It was very stressful to read, because it talks about how your parenting choice can actually effect your child’s brain development. We are hoping to enroll our son in an infant program at a Montessori school, so now I have to read everything I can get my hands on about that. I’ve started Montessori from the start by Paul Polk Lillard, Raising an Amazing Child the Montessori Way and Teach Me to Do it Myself. I also got The Power of Play by David Elkind out of the library. I think I went a little overboard to start.
If I had read about it before I had G, I would not have thought it was safe, but I’m really intrigued by the Montessori baby bed. G hates his crib and loves being in a bed. I don’t know if it would work.
So, I just finished reading Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight and New Moon. They were both great. I think I liked Twilight a little better, because the pace was so fast. I couldn’t put it down. I would have stayed up all night reading it, if I wasn’t so sleep deprived. I haven’t felt like that in a long time. I generally don’t stay up all night reading books. The last time, was when I read the book Shark Dialogues by Kiana Davenport. That was a long time ago. It’s not that I haven’t read anything good. It’s just that I had to finish Twilight. I had to find out what happened. Anyway, know I have total book let down. I can’t jump into a new book of fiction just yet. I have to hang around reading non-fiction for a little bit until I’m ready for a good story. I don’t want to be comparing everything to how it felt when I read Twilight. It would be like reading on the rebound. Oh well. In the mean time, I’m reading Walking Zero by Chet Raymo about walking along the prime meridian and the Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderland. I’ll just wait a little while…