life · reading

A problem and a list

Sometimes I miss the years when I read and thought about one book at a time. Reading felt substantial, so much more rounded, and I seemed to be much more involved… Or was it truly so? I was prepared to dismiss this feeling as a classic case of golden age illusion, but that would be far too simple a thing to do. There certainly was school – homework, exams, projects  – as well as everything else that goes with being a teenager, a young adult, but, in my free time, when I had a book of my choice in my hands it was always just the two of us.

Nowadays I am bombarded, daily, (even if it is, to a great extent, my own choice) with information on so many intriguing sounding titles (The Hedgehog, the Fox and the Magister’s Pox; The Year of Reading Dangerously; A Book of SilenceThe Forest in Folklore and MythologySurely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman; H is for Hawk – some of the recent ones). Keeping them from intruding my mind while reading a chosen book (On Rereading) is not hard. It’s what happens when I put it down. It is then the reading becomes stained: what is in those books? maybe I should have picked Feynman first? oh, that Book of Silence quote was so good! maybe forests would prove to be more suiting a theme at the moment, and so on.. This problem was non-existent fifteen, twenty years ago. I had one, no – I wanted one book at a time is a more accurate statement.. and there was not even a hint of guilt regarding the amount of time spent with a given book.

Now, not only does this constant exposure to information create pressure in terms of time and choices, but (and this is a particularly annoying problem) it makes processing a book (letting it settle, thinking about it, forming a considerable opinion) quite difficult. I feel almost bullied to grab a new book as soon as I shut the covers of a previous one (for how on Earth should one get to all those titles with so little time!). I am fighting this feeling on a regular basis because, in spite of all the sensible, logical arguments against its presence, it’s always there…

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On a slightly non-related note – a wish-to-reread list of books I’ve read this year:

  • Carson McCullersThe Heart is a Lonely Hunter
  • Willa Cather
    • Death Comes for the Archbishop
    • O Pioneers!
    • The Professor’s House
  • Mark Slouka Lost Lake
  • Muriel SparkThe Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
  • Angela Thirkell
    • The Brandons
    • August Folly
    • Before Lunch
  • A.S. ByattRagnarok
  • Tove Jansson
    • Moominpappa at Sea
    • Tales from Moominvalley
    • Moominvalley in November
    • Moominland Midwinter
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3 thoughts on “A problem and a list

  1. Everybody seems to be talking about Willa Cather recently and I find myself wholly ignorant in the area, mainly owing to Christmas of which I would like to wish you a very good one. There is a crazy amount of pressure to read and read books, I feel lucky that I can process the previous book subconsciously to a certain extent before i really think about it for the blog. I am guilty of this encouraging people to read malarkey as well but I will gloss over that, haha!

    1. The last days of the Old year were pretty hectic so do accept apologies for not responding sooner. Hope you had a marry Christmas and I hope you’ll have a good New year!
      Willa Cather is a precious one, you’ll see. :)
      This year I intend to take more time for a single book, to better resist the impulse to tackle new titles before properly absorbing the previous one.. no matter how appealing it would sound!
      Books are endlessly patient – they will wait (in company of each other, welcoming new ones very often – so, do not stop encouraging!) for me as long as it proves needed.

      1. No apologies necessary, my internet went down over Christmas and have only been back on for a couple of days. I had a great Christmas and New Year myself and I hope you did as well.

        It is always interesting to see how people assimilate books and I think that perhaps I may start to take more time over each book as well but then again I tend to relapse pretty quickly so i will see how that goes…in the meantime I will try to find even more books for you to add to your list in a non pressurising way!

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