Reading Matters

 

I have been between books for a while now partly because I have a new job which has required a massive learning curve (and I’ve been steadying myself of an evening with the cozy perfection of Nigel Slater’s food writing) and partly, because I recently completed (she said, not without some pride) the entire series of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s “non-fictional “novel” series.

Fortified, I then pressed onward with the entire Neapolitan volumes written by the hauntingly hard-to-read, hard-to-put-down, hard-to forget Elena Ferrante whose work I now admire immensely.

These books are like opulent, rich meals – with dessert – and beg to be savored not gorged, since they are certainly not easily digested afterwards. With Knausgaard particularly, it was troubling to decide if I applauded what he was doing (writing frankly about his life with no filter and thus exhibiting a total disregard for anyone else’s feelings) or despised it; however, what intrigued me most were his descriptions of the everyday and the banal which he chronicles from childhood to the present day; the expression of a cashier he might never see again; the certain feel of a day; the outside weather echoing what he felt within himself; his documentation of a parent’s sharp, throwaway, put-down which crushes him. Continue reading

Ex Libris Speranza

A-God-in-Ruins

 

Not unlike this entire blog, I find that my reading interests are all over the place. I say this not to impress but rather, to explain that I have always been curious about many things at the same time.  I often meet people in my line of work who will only read one author obsessively till they have exhausted the supply and then start reading their entire body of work all over again because there is “nothing else.”

I don’t understand this on so many different levels.

Right now, I have in an unstable tower beside my bed, a rotating pile of library books ranging from a biography of bad boy D.H.Lawrence to The Sweet Potato Lover’s Cookbook to Julian Barne’s Keeping an Eye Open: Essays on Art.

I also have a thing about books that offer tips to make life more organized or beautiful, preferably both, and to that end, I highly recommend the Pogue’s Basics: Life Essential Tips and Shortcuts (That no one bothers to tell you).  

Mr.Pogue, who is an entertaining New York Times bestselling author and TED talk veteran with over a million Twitter followers, covers everything from  removing water rings on wood instantly with mayonnaise (actually works SO well!) to choosing the day your credit card bill will be due, to using a single stick of spaghetti to light multiple candles or as a taper.

And TONS more in-between.

(Tip: There’s another Pogue book devoted entirely to technology – equally good!) Continue reading

Why Reading (At All) Still Counts …

 

Dana Girls

 

Frasier ( Son #1) has often told me that people are not reading less now but rather, reading differently. He cites his own reading habits here – and many of his hipster friends – who may dip in and out of many respected, intellectual websites and blogs/instagram accounts daily but not necessarily read an actual book with any degree of regularity. But is the ability to settle down and enjoy a longer body of work for pleasure gradually being edged out by all these shorter blasts online?

Is there a case to be made about our attention spans atrophying since the onset of the internet?

I’ll try to keep this brief …
Continue reading