just couldn't finish. Wrong book,
wrong time, wrong reader.
In Darkness by Nick Lake. Bloomsbury, 2012, 368 pages. Add a Comment
by Katherine Erskine Philomel / Penguin 2010 Everyone's been raving about this book. It just got nominated from a National Book Award. It's been on the periphery of my radar so I figured it was time to pick it up. Twenty-five pages later it was time to put it down. There is no worse feeling than to not like a popular book and feel, somehow, like you're defective for thinking it. Worse ifDisplay Comments Add a Comment
by Laurel SnyderRandom House 2009Scared away by a condescending narrative voice.It's been a while since I abandoned a book outright, but I just couldn't keep plowing through. There have been books I wanted to ditch, and others I probably should have dumped, but I've always held out to the end with that hope that maybe something toward the end would redeem the effort. But Any Which Wall justDisplay Comments Add a Comment
Several years ago I got the bright idea to make a list of books I'd always meant to read, books I felt I should read, and books I had loved and wanted to re-read. I combed through my mental files and also got suggestions from commenters on what I should include. Because I am a creative person and work with words for a living, I called this list The LIST. (#genius)
All told, The LIST was 54 books long. A mix of classic and modern, children's and adult, fiction and nonfiction, it introduced me to some wonderful books, some surprising favorites, and a few old friends. Tragically, I will never get back the 37 hours I spent reading Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina.
As of today, I have read 51 1/2 books from The LIST (Sophie's World, you were just not compelling enough to finish). Those last few books have been sitting there for six months now, silently mocking me from the sidebar like some hypertext Nelson Muntz.
So as of today, I am officially abandoning The LIST. Consider it what I'm giving up for Lent. It's been a good run, anyway. Someday I'm sure I'll re-read Where the Red Fern Grows; I'm less confident I'll give Stephen Daedalus or Tocqueville a chance.
I'm currently putting together a (much shorter) list of middle-grade and YA books that I adored on first reading. As is my wont, however (fast reader = superficial reader), I remember little about most of these books now, except that I loved them. Stay tuned for The Great Re-Read, coming to a sidebar near you in the not-too-distant future.
Did you know that the average American will consume more energy between New Year's Eve and midnight on January 2nd than the average person from Tanzania consumes in a full year?
(Turning off the upstairs lights now...)
I'm borrowing this stat from environmentalist and writer Bill McKibben, who spoke in my community today. McKibben, author of The End of Nature, is an amazing leader promoting action on global climate change. I didn't even know he was in town until I saw a tiny little blurb in the newspaper while I was having my coffee. I threw on my jeans and flew out of the house at 8:50 to catch his 9:00 presentation.
His talk came just hours after the United Nations Conference reached its agreement on a global warming plan. McKibben discussed the earlier disagreements between the United States and the European Union over the worldwide response to climate change. Why the tension? The average European (we're not talking about Tanzania here) uses HALF as much energy as the average American each year. Seriously...something to think about.
McKibben also wrote the introduction and annotations for a 2004 release of Henry David Thoreau's Walden. (I'm re-reading Thoreau right now because he's involved in a new historical novel that's taking shape in the dark corners of my brain.) McKibben makes some great points, suggesting that Thoreau was a conservationist, if an accidental one, because he consumed so little, much like people in third world nations like Tanzania today. McKibben suggests there may be answers to our modern crisis in Thoreau's 19th century reflections on getting by with less.
We have more than a foot of snow expected in the Champlain Valley, thanks to a big nor'easter arriving early tomorrow morning. I think it's time to power down the computer and stereo. The idea of lighting a candle, sipping hot tea, and reading Walden sounds just about perfect.