I feel like this should be a time of getting things done. Of finishing things that I won’t have much time for once the Peanut arrives in 3-D. And instead I’m laying in bed, my creativity squashed by physical misery, watching the rain outside of the window like a cat. So the obvious task to tackle was the reading of all the books on my to-read shelf. And because I’m a book geek and because a number of you showed interest when I posted the last “year in books” post, I thought I’d give you a run down of the fodder keeping my synapses firing in these slow, rainy months. Perhaps you have read some of the same and can offer me your thoughts in the comments. Someone has to help me keep this brain from turning itself off completely. Otherwise both it and this blog are going to dissolve into mush.
My mission started with Volume Three of The Collected Short Stories of Philip K. Dick. Wow. Wow. Did I say “wow”? I’ve read almost all of Dick’s novels, but had, until very recently, never delved into his short stories. (For those of you unfamiliar with his work, he writes science fiction with a very critical-of-the-status-quo bent.) If you could say I admired him before, now you could say that I’ve sold him my soul. Short story writing was clearly his forte. And to think I’d ignored this part of his work until now! And all because I don’t like how, once I’ve finally fallen under the spell of a short story, it’s already over and generally avoid them. (This from a writer and reader of blogs. Ha!)
Simultaneously I attempted to read A Language Older Than Words by Derrick Jensen, a task at which I failed miserably. I like Jensen’s work and agree with much of what he has to say, but I find that I currently cannot handle that which is devoid of hope. And if anything makes me feel hopeless it is reading about the downward spiral of environmental devastion being wrought on the world this very second, which is kind of what all of his books are about. I feel nauseaus often enough lately as it is.
Instead I’ve been delving into novels, the first significant pause in a long period of nonfiction-based reading and ode to my desire to escpae the dreary present. I’ve read Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas (captivating and full of interesting questions), listened to I, Robot by Isaac Asimov and Eragon by Christopher Poalini (Asimov was alright, Poalini was irritating), and re-read Coraline by Neil Gaimon (charmingly grotesque). I then moved on to Pippi Langstocking by Astrid Lindgren (fantastic anarchistic children’s books) and Native Son by Richard Wright (a captivating story and a disturbing reminder of how fucked up the racism of the mid 21st century was). And now? Now I am anxiously sitting by the mailbox, waiting for several boxes of books that will make the task of finishing the to-read shelf futile, but even more fun.
What are you reading?