(Our host for this week's Fun Monday is Lisa over at Lisa's Chaos . She's sure that other Fun Monday friends would like to know about our quirks, those little peculiarities of action, behavior, personality, or mannerism that make us a unique individual. Well, no shortages of quirks--or just plain weirdness--here, as my friends so often point out. However, for this post I'll confine my quirk reveal to what and how I read.)
Lately I've been dealing with a bad case of "sidebar envy" when reading favorite blogs. Specifically, I envy you bloggers who have figured out how to display your bookshelves, or at least a list of books you're currently reading. Just like in our homes, this "bookshelf" reveals so much about who you are. I sometimes look at your lists and think: "So that's why I like them so much. Anyone who reads this is sure to be interesting, funny, insightful. . ."
Maybe I'll eventually figure out how to put a bookshelf on my sidebar. Until I do, however, I'll share with you some of my most definite reading quirks.
First, I write in books--always have, always will. Instead of a bookmark, my books have a colored pencil (especially like those fat ones that blend several lead colors together for multicolor writing) or highlighter holding my place. Passages get underlined, highlighted and filled with margin comments and drawings. No book is too fine to not get marked up. They're all like a workbook to me. I love loaning my books to friends and would not mind them adding their comments as well--so much more interesting.
I have many books going at the same time. The selection will depend on my current interests. In June I've been working my way through these seven books:
Fiction(especially if there's a sequel)--remember Chocolat by Joanne Harris? Well, this month I re-read this story of the beautiful Vianne Rocher and her daughter Anouk who blow into a desolate, unhappy little French town prepared to live by making and selling magical chocolates from her chocolate shop. Vianne immediately makes an enemy of the local priest and mayor. Their objective is to make sure everyone stays repressed and unhappy. Is is, after all, Lent, the season of denial. The battle wages on between the church and the chocolatier. Vianne makes allies from some of the townspeople and some unwanted gypsy boat people. As in all battles between good and evil, both sides lose something of themselves. . .
After re-reading Chocolat, I eagerly started the new sequel, The Girl with No Shadow. Vianne, Anouk and a new baby Rosette (the daughter of the gypsy Roux) are now settled in Paris, struggling to keep their story a secret. Vianne has a chocolate shop in Montmartre. She conforms for the sake of anonymity, but is not happy. Still about half the book to go and I'm puzzled about how it will end.
Journeys(of foreign countries or the soul)--I found Joan Anderson's The Second Journey at an opportune time this month. Anderson writes about her struggles to live a balanced life when dealing with the constant demands of family, friends, and career. This newest book shares what she learned about herself by stepping back and letting go of the "shoulds" that we foist on ourselves.
Another "journey of the soul" that I'm reading this month is the poet May Sarton's
The House by the Sea written in 1977. She has written accounts of her life in journals through her 82nd year. I have all six books stacked and ready to read. I wonder what I will learn about living well while growing old?
Jane Austen--since the BBC Jane Austen series began earlier this year, I have been obsessed by her work and life. I'm re-reading all the novels, seeing the different film productions of her novels and life. This month it's Persuasion, my favorite for her mature, bittersweet account of love lost and found. This time I'm also reading Frederick Wentworth Captain, None but You by Susan Kaye at the same time. I'm not wild about Austen sequels because they usually leave me thinking something huffy like "Get you own characters!" But Kaye has done an honest job of presenting Captain Wentworth's side of the story. So, I read parts of Persuasion and then go to the sequel for the guy's point of view. That way, I understand both Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth a lot better.
Writing--I always have a book on writing in progress. Lately I've been interested in memoir, prompted by some of the posts I've written for this blog. This month I'm working through Natalie Goldberg's newest book, Old Friend from Far Away--The Practice of Writing Memoir. The great thing about this book is that she teaches us how to remember our life stories. For how can we write unless we learn how to uncover the people, events, and feelings that make us who we are?
Well, maybe you won't call this an actual reading quirk. You may think attention deficit disorder instead. . .but there you have it. Now be sure to head over to Lisa's place to check out other Fun Monday quirks. Don't worry though, as Lisa says "You're among friends."
- Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.