So the Year of Shakespeare got off to a good start but paused abruptly when we moved. I blame the lack of a good sitting chair in my little reading space in the new house for lack of continued progress on that front. Yes, it's a transparent and ridiculous excuse, but I'm going to stick with it for a while. Year of Planned Reading has been a little better, though not without bumps. I've been doing some unplanned reading -- after a couple of hard books I picked up some paperback detective novels my dad dropped off and tearing through those was a treat. Then I got a Kindle, and went on an experimental spree of downloading all the free Kindle books I could find, plus buying ones in the Kindle store that struck my fancy. And there are all these "12 Secrets To Landing Your Dream Job" type books that I feel compelled to read and evaluate for work. (Most, you will not be surprised to learn, are bad. But some are very good.) So I've been reading a lot, though not in the disciplined way that I set out to do at the beginning of this year: according to a pre-determined list, for 3 hours on weekends, 2 hours on Wednesday nights, plus the usual bedtime reading.
I'm hoping hoping hoping that now that we are pretty much moved in and we have sold our old house, I can turn my attention back to the Reading Plan. Yesterday I came home from work with 10 books from the college library -- the three interlibrary loan books I'd gone in to get, plus 7 others that jumped out at me from the shelves and begged me to take them home. I have reading time planned tonight, and my Sunday is blissfully open.
Preliminary remarks on the Kindle: I love it. It's better than a book because it contains many books at once, it's light, it contains the means of getting other books immediately. Those things are reassuring and cool. Having it with me means I have access to all books at once. It is disarmingly, chillingly, efficient at purchasing new books. Reading on it is slightly easier than reading a "real" book, because you can hold it with one hand and turn the pages with a click of your thumb, which sometimes you can't do with a larger real book. But is it really better than a book? Well, this pile of 10 books I brought home and plan to review this weekend are real books. That means I can look over their dust jackets and covers, flip through the index, skim easily, jump to relevant chapters, and do that "inspectional reading" that Mr. Adler taught me is very important. Some of the 10 books I brought home probably won't merit more than that level of reading. If there's a way with the Kindle to quickly scan a book and assess the whole and its component parts, then jump around and skim sections, I haven't figured it out quite yet. I will probably reserve the Kindle for reading fiction and shorter articles, and continue to use the library for nonfiction books, the better for skimming, skipping, and jumping around.
What am I reading? Hmm. I just finished the first two Twilight books, on my Kindle, on which I also read a horrible (but free) romance novel. Am partway through The Omnivore's Dilemma on the Kindle, and am already accepting that before I'm done I'm going to shop and eat differently. Just read a florid and overwritten book for book group, called Holy Fools, which you should not waste any time on. Next month's book group selection is The Grapes of Wrath, which I have loaded onto my Kindle but haven't yet started to re-read -- I last read it in high school, so remember only a few scenes. On my bedside table I have The Feeling of What Happensand After Virtue-- real books from the library, not Kindles. In the bag I brought home from the library yesterday are 10 more books, the heavy old-fashioned kind. My intent tonight and over the weekend is to skim and inspect these books pretty closely, to figure out which of them deserve to be closely read. (If you have thoughts, and can save me the trouble on any of these, please email me to let me know.) As usual, my curiosity about people and why we act the way we do is pretty transparent: