March 13, 2011
Blogging is fun when it turns into book club.
I’ve had my first blog award, and now I’ve been tagged in a meme, by Rachel at Journeys with Autism.
I think at some point this meme was to post the books that were in actuality physically by your bedside, but for me, that would be all of them…since my bedroom is very small, so the bookshelves which occupy two walls of it are, necessarily, very close to my bed. Luckily for all, it’s now a more general “what are you reading” meme. And these are the rules:
1. Take a picture of the books you are reading currently and add them to your post.
2. Describe the books and if you are enjoying them
3. For every book you are reading, you have to tag one person.
4. Leave the person a comment letting them know you tagged them.
I used to have a personal rule that I couldn’t be reading more than one book at a time. At some point, I had two books (and I don’t even remember what they were) that I wanted to read with equal desperation, and my usual respect for delayed gratification was so overwhelmed I didn’t know what to do. Then I realized that that wasn’t a real rule, it was one I made up, and I could be reading as many books at a time as I wanted. Without further ado, here’s what I’ve been reading:
1. Triangle: The Fire That Changed America by David Von Drehle. An exhaustive but very readable history of the causes and aftermath of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911, this book contains much of the background and source material for the production I’m currently working on, a dramatic choral music piece called From the Fire in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the event this year. The fire was New York City’s worst workplace disaster before 9/11/01, in which 146 garment workers, mostly young immigrant girls, died because, for an evil confluence of reasons large and small, they were locked inside a dangerous factory. I loved reading this, both because I enjoy having a fuller understanding of the background and origin of the shows I work with, and because the Triangle tragedy was one of those things that I vaguely remembered being mentioned in passing in 8th grade history class, but we were never really taught its importance as a turning point in American history, for women’s rights and workers’ rights among other things.
2. A Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin. This is the first installment of a fantasy series which came highly recommended by a friend, and my intrigue was sharpened by the visually gorgeous previews for the forthcoming HBO series. I was totally hooked by the end of the prologue. It’s the story of a land on the brink of war where nothing and no one is quite what they seem at first, and Martin plays around very unsettlingly with big ideas about power, love and trust, morality, and what we think we understand about the natural world.
3. Rachel’s own book, The Uncharted Path. Rachel, I’m going to cherish this as part of my growing “survival manual.” Before I read this, I thought that I had actually hit some limit on my ability to be stunned by recognition of my own experience, or having to keep saying “good god, I thought it was just me.” Nope. Knocked speechless.
4. Saint George and the Dragon, by Margaret Hodges, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. One of my favorite picture books as a child, it’s an adaptation of the most famous episode from Edmund Spenser’s Middle English epic poem The Faerie Queene. It had been on my mind a lot lately and I considered asking my mother to mail me the copy she still has, but then figured I might as well have my own since I could get it for $3 on Amazon. Its completely enchanting watercolor illustrations have not lost their power to entrance me in the 25 years since this book was first read to me.
5. 1776, by David McCullough. I actually haven’t started this one yet–it’s next up. My dad and I tend to like the same kind of history books, so he passed this one on to me after he finished it. He says it’s an intensely human, personal account of the first year of the American Revolution; it sounds almost impossible that I won’t like it.
6. The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver. I’ve made a habit of re-reading things I’ve loved to wind down before bed. This is the one I’ve gone to for much of this past year, and is a book that will amply reward re-reading. I love this book on so many levels, and it’s kept blossoming and unfolding to me the more time I’ve spent with it. Typically I say that it’s impossible for me to name one “favorite book,” because so many have meant so much to me but in very different ways or times or circumstances. But this one’s in serious danger of being my favorite book for a very long time.
And now, for my six victims! You! I want to know what you’re reading! Because I either like your writing or think you’re interesting, and not because I, like, need more stuff on my list of things to read or anything….
1. Amish, at The Trivedi Chronicles.
2. Amy, at experiment in a new life.
3. Jess, at This has become a weakness.
4. Leigh, at An American Girl in Cambodia.
5. Susan, at Three Cats on a Sofa.
6. Bruce, at Born 2b me.
Does anyone else find themselves quietly hoping that hyperlexic people are more likely to get reincarnated, because we need more time to read?