June, the time of year when most library and summer schools try to engage kids (and sometimes adults) in the fine art of summer reading programs. When I think of summer reading programs I think of big circles of construction paper of all colors tacked together in a long line to create a book “worm” of everyone’s reading efforts. Because I miss stuff like that and because I miss teaching, there is the ultimate surfacing of that nostalgia in my day-to-day life–I’m making a bookworm for my desk at work. I’m already taking ribbing for it, but not for the reasons you may think. Mostly the jabs are because…I’m a reader. Not many people read at my workplace; in fact, it’s pretty rare that any workplace I’ve found sports readers. Everyone’s social instead–virtually or in meetspace–and without a car I can’t keep up with that. So, here in the cultural desert, I shoot for my own inner garden, complete with worms and maybe to include butterflies (depending on how comfortable I start to get with my drawings).
Food for the worm this month lie in the following morsels:
- Life After Life continues. I try to shoot for a hundred pages a weekend, depending on if I get a three-day weekend, which I have in some measure lately. The book has gone from “enough of the starting over already, let her live,” to the “holy shit” phase. Chapters are short and there is plenty of negative (why not call it positive, cries my mother’s optimism) space, which creates addictive gobbling of the pages. I’ve gone from shooting for a hundred pages a weekend to limiting myself to a hundred pages a pop because I have to give other things in my life a turn at the wheel;
- Such as All The Light We Cannot See, this year’s Pulitzer winner. Yes, I’m guilty of the snobbery of reading Pulitzer winners, but because it saves me the time of looking for the books with the largest collection of best reviews, but I bought this one because Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan loved it, last year. The Pulitzer thing was just a bonus, and there’s more–the guy got his MFA from a college about an hour from where I grew up. There’s hope for me yet.
I picked up two more books yesterday at the San Diego Public Library: an earlier story collection of Doerr’s (author of All The Light We Cannot See) and a slim volume of thoughts on reading in the age of distraction. If I wasn’t writing this piece to you right now, on a distraction by way of blog, I would be reading that book, so it’s irony that we have this morning, in a luscious slice.