About Me

My photo
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.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Reading Quirks

(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."


Mariposa said...

I also write on my books a lot! And I write my thoughts on that moment I'm reading it...and sometimes it can be embarrassing when somebody gets to read it next! LOL

Happy Monday!

Olive said...

You are a busy person with words whether reading, writing, or just having them sit around.

SongBird said...

How do you keep up with so many stories going on at once?!! I write and underline in my books, too.

karisma said...

WHAT??? YOU WRITE IN BOOKS??? YES I AM SHOUTING! SHAME ON YOU! I THINK YOU SHOULD HIDE NOW, BECAUSE I AM GOING TO HAVE TO KILL YOU! (Lucky I am a pacifist hey?) My bark is much worse than my bite! But seriously, books are precious, please do not deface them, have you not heard of a photocopier? You can deface the copies instead.

Tracey_iPost said...

I wish I could write in my books...I usually have library books because I can't afford all those books! But, I have to say that it blows my mind that you read 7 at a time! I am a one book till the end kinda girl. Right now it is The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Oh, and I am in LOVE with Jane Austin!

Hootin' Anni said...

I wouldn't call reading more than one book at a time a quirk...you've just got an active mind and need the activity of reading more than one to keep yourself satisfied. {I read more than several at a time also}

My FM is posted...come on over!!

Jeanna said...

That's a dedicated attitude toward reading. Good summer or anytime reading suggestions; loved the movie. Good post.

KittyHawk said...

My, my. You mention Chocolat without mentioning Johnny Depp, that cute gypsy in the movie? I couldn't enjoy it half as much without being able to picture him in it.

I've been meaning to loan you a book for serious writers called ]The Forest for the Trees: An Editor's Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner. I'm about halfway through so it will eventually be coming your way.

Tiggerlane said...

Wow, you are reminding me of how much I used to enjoy reading...and how much I DON'T do it anymore, unless it is required reading.

Must. Read. More.

Heather said...

My son reads several books at once. Not me, unless maybe one is fiction and one is non-fiction. My husband and I just shake our heads when he shows us the three books he's halfway through. The exception - when he read the Harry Potter books. He couldn't put them down!

Jo Beaufoix said...

Wow Faye I'm reading "Lollipop Shoes" which I thought was the sequel to Chocolat, but now I know there is one inbetween I must get it. Thank you.

I also have many books going at the same time and love Jane Austen. :D

Anglophile Football Fanatic said...

I usually have several books going at the same time, too.

Irish Coffeehouse said...

As a child I was an avid reader, but now I'm lucky to do what I consider "required" reading.

Check out: shelfari.com to create a virtual bookshelf for your blog. I think you'll like it! :)

Faye said...

mariposa--what's a little embarrassment among reading buddies? :)

olive--guilty as charged!

songbird--every one of my current reads get a few pages turned real frequently. However, I do have to make a little "character tree" to help keep everyone straight in some books.

karisma--I'm glad that there's at least two oceans separating us! I truly understand your concerns about damaging books. I would never write in one that doesn't belong to me. In my own, however, the markings make it more valuable to me.

tracey ipost--I hope you have a great library. I've lived in small towns where the library was wonderful. Sadly, our city voted down a much needed library services expansion tax last year. I too read Pillars of the Earth recently--very original. Glad to hear from another Austen fan. Our local theater is doing Pride and Prejudice in September. Can hardly wait to see how they handle all the dancing and Pemberley.

hootin' anni--thanks for the pass Anni!

jeanna--i also loved the movie Chocolat. Do you think Johnny Depp had anything to do with our high opinion? Grin and a wink. . .

kittyhawk--I'm remembering you promised to share Lerner's book. I'm ready when you can turn it loose.

tiggerlane--sounds like you may gone back to school. That's ALMOST as good as nonstop reading.

heather--did you read Harry Potter as well so you can discuss with your son. Keep thinking I should read them just to understand what all the excitement is about.

jo beaufoix--Lollipop Shoes is not listed as a Joanne Harris work. Nevertheless, who could resist such a title. Why do you think Austen is so readable today. I just looked up something in Pride and Prejudice and almost started reading it again!

anglophile football fanatic--keeping several books going makes it easy to read the one that suits the present mood, don't you think?

irish coffeehouse--I confess. Thought if I mentioned wanting to know how to do "blog bookshelves" some kind blogger would tell me how. Thanks!

Kaytabug said...

So I totally get why you write in them but for my quirk that is like nails on a chalkboard for me. So we are opposites on that, and that's the beauty of everyone being different! I have more than one book on my bedside table, I have 4. At least one has to be Nonfiction, right now 3 of the 4 are Fiction.

What you said to AFF is exactly why I have several at once. They are all very different, a Harry Potter, The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas, Swapping Lives by Jane Green, and Small Wonder by Kingsolver.

Tracey_iPost said...

Hey Faye! I just wanted to get back to you about Kentucky (from iPost). The reason it wouldn't click is because it is a map of which states I have gotten postcards from. It is not interactive other than zooming in and out. I would love to have a postcard from Kentucky for my kids and my collection. We are trying to get one from each of the 50 states before the end of the summer. We don't have Kentucky yet, so we would LOVE to get one. If you are interested in helping us out and would like to send a postcard from Kentucky, please email me, ipost(at)live(dot)com and let me know so I can send you my address. Hugs!

Molly said...

Although writing in your books may be a little unique (other than textbooks, this may be a efficient technique to read and remember what your have read.

I did read the book, The Places in Between that you spoke about a couple of Mondays back. Perhaps , I will try one of the choices you have written about today. Since I get many of my books from the library, I better refrain from writing in the books.

I have read all of Austen's works as well as the works of Louisa May Alcott.

lisaschaos said...

Very cool! I never thought of reading as a quirk but you're right. Well all have our styles and I always have a few going at once too. :) Ususally two fictions and a few how-tos or some such. :)

Thanx for playing. :)

Alison said...

thanks for the great list of books...I love to read also!!

laurie said...

wow, i love this list.

what have you learned about captain wentworth, my heart be still?

and i can teach you very very easily to put your books in your sidebar. it's picky but no harder than anything else.

email me, and i'll send you a step by step tutorial.

laurie said...

(i used to write in books, which i was a kid. not so much anymore.)

KittyHawk said...

Faye, another thought occurred to me that might appeal to you and the other seriius book lovers and readers here. It won't get a list of books in your sidebar, but it's a great tool for - well it's hard to describe. Go to www.librarything.com and see for yourself. I've got lots of my books catalogued there, and the process is fast and easy!

Randy and Kim said...

I'm so envious of you for reading so many books. I usually only read when I'm on vacation, and I enjoy it, but never seem to find time when I'm in my normal routine. Happy Fun Monday.

IamwhoIam said...

Reading one or two books at a time I can manage. but I need to do seirs in order and never at the same time. I sometime hate it when they make a book I read into a movie because they get it all wrong.

Pamela said...

Chocolat was one book that I felt was much better in the movie. Usually the movie disappoints. Let me know how the sequel goes.

My Husband Calls Me Weird said...

Wow, I have some new reads on my list! Thanks!


Faye said...

molly--hope you enjoyed Places in Between. I've since read Prince of the Marshes by Stewart as well. Account of his work with England's coalition forces in Iraq. Not as interesting and personal as Places, but a different perspective on working with new Iraq gov't.

lisa--ah, how tos--all good whether wallpapering or mending a relationship. On second thought, same skill required for both. . .

alison and nikki--my list is your list.

laurie--I'm torn between your fav Captain Wentworth, Ciaran Hinds, and the most recent Rupert Penry-Jones. Both have their charms. Still have your directions for linking and use all the time. Will e-mail formal request for how to set up virtual bookshelves.

kittyhawk--librarything sounds anal enough to appeal. Will check out.

randy and kim--I hear you about time for reading. Dogs understand. Kids expect better, I'm sure.

iamwhoiam--I agree about books and movies. For sure, don't mess with Jane!

pamela--Chocolat was more delicious than the book. Confess now, it was Johnny Depp that caused your review, right?

Kaycie said...

I never write in my books. Sometimes I leave notes in them on little scraps of paper, though. I can't even bring myself to highlight a book unless it's a textbook, and even then, only if it's absolutely necessary. Odd, how we're all different about that.

If you would like a revolving display of your library of books like I have on my sidebar, just visit my blog and click on that display. It'll take you to "Library Thing". It's as easy as pie to set up. If you need help, drop me a line.

Jo Beaufoix said...

Faye, I did some research. Lollipop Shoes is the UK version of The Girl with no Shadow. http://www.joanne-harris.co.uk/

I have no idea why they used a different title, but I'm really enjoying it.

And Jane Austen is so readable I suppose because the characters are so real and so intelligently written. While the social etiquette is different, the thoughts and feelings are pretty mch the same. And who couldn't be drawn in by the conversations Darcy and Lizzy have. :D

Lane said...

They're all like a workbook to me.

I love that! That's really using using a book. How many times have I wanted to find a passage but can't. Sometimes I've been brave and made a very faint pencil mark but now - I think I'll just go for it like you! Maybe even get me a multi-coloured soft blending pencil:-)

I'm very impressed that you can have more than one fiction book on the go. That's a definite skill rather than a quirk:-)

Ms Goldberg's book is next on my list. I must admit I was rather relieved to finish Ms Cameron's!

Sayre said...

I saw the movie "Chocolat" but didn't realize that there was a sequel to the book! I must go find it.

Ari_1965 said...

I've just started writing in books.