Bedside book chat

The stack by the alarm clock grows alarmingly.  My Kindle is loaded.  Roadtrips with audio books should be fewer in 2011 now that my dad is nearby. 

Wait!  I Have a Blog tells of all the books Kathleen and her bookshop customers are reading and why.  I feel like a literacy slug.  Sure, I read lots of book reviews in Library Journal and ALA Booklist at one job.  I try to read Medicare handbooks for my unofficial job.  I read children's books aloud five days a week, reminding me of the power of that experience for all participants. 

Maybe I need to read aloud to Dad.  He is bored.  His eyes can't track print across a page now, so he can't read.  He is tired of all television, even sports.  He never had any patience with fiction.  He can't hear very well.  I'll sleep on this idea.  If I ask him what he'd like to hear, he will say "nothing".  I will have to just begin.

What do I read, and why?  I read Clive Cussler, Dwell magazine, and the NY Times on airplanes.  Why?  Because that's what I was reading when I realized I wasn't nervous about flying anymore.  Same reason I always drink tomato juice or Bloody Mary mix during the on-flight beverage service, too.  Silly, but still.

Organized by Danger Baby's fiance and Speech-Debate's wife, my sons and their loving ones, gave me a Kindle last spring.  I like it, and will use it even more with my new Mighty Bright MiniFlex LED eReader Light.  Read on Kindle in '10:
  • Following the Water:  A Hydromancer's Notebook--Why?  Because the Woolly Mammoth's girlfriend knows I like nature writing.
  • The Poisonwood Bible--because I always planned to, but never got around to it.
  • Moby Dick--because my curiosity was piqued by the Dallas Opera's premiere of a Moby Dick opera.
  • Elmore Leonard's Djibouti--because I don't want Leonard to go off and die like Donald Westlake and George MacDonald Fraser.  That boy can write dialogue.  A great for-no-reason gift from Danger Baby.
  • King Solomon's Mines, by H. Rider Haggard-- because it was free, plus Amelia Peabody, Indiana Jones, and Howard Carter are some of my favorite people.
What's loaded into the Kindle for '11? 
  • Last Call, by Daniel Okrent
  • The Alexiad, by Anna Comnena--gifts from Speech-Debate and his wife.
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  • The Prisoner of Zenda--Freebies for filling in the gaps in my education.
  • Anna Karenina--because of the hedgehog.

The last two books I read were Nora Ephron's I Remember Nothing from my sister, and The Hare With Amber Eyes, by Edmund de Waal, from the library.  The first was lightweight name-dropping, and not as funny as hoped.  The second was slow-going and worth every minute in gaining a new understanding of art history, Europe in the 20th Century, anti-Semitism, attention to detail, and memoir-writing.  Highly recommended.

This is the year I will read:
  • King Lear--because of elderly fathers and daughters and Stephanie Kallos at work on Novel #3
  • New World Kids: The Parents' Guide to Creative Thinking, by Susan Marcus and Susie Monday--Why?  We've got to change the way we teach because children are increasingly low-initiative and low-empathy, even as they over-stimulated and over-scheduled.  And because Mr. and Mrs. Danger Baby gave me an Amazon gift card.
  • Sightings, by Sam Keen--spiritual discovery through bird-watching found on the donation shelf at the library!
  • More cookbooks and books about cookbooks.  Arto der Haroutunian's classic Vegetarian Dishes from Across the Middle East spent months on my kitchen table inspiring my meals with new flavor combinations.  Cooking for one can be very dull without fresh inspirations.  Field guides to birds, insects, trees, butterflies, and geology will continue to linger on several desks.
Memorable fiction held in my hands in 2010:
  • One Amazing Thing, by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
  • People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks
  • The Given Day, by Dennis Lehane
  • Mink River, by Brian Doyle
  • The Last Dickens, by Matthew Pearl
Fascinating audio books in 2010:
  • Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery--because Steph knew I would enjoy it! 
  • Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver--Some parts more interesting than others. 
  • Homer and Langley, by E. L. Doctorow--Intriguing while I cleaned out my father's house.  How do you spell "hoarding"?
  • Shadow Divers, by Robert Kurson--Suggested by Esther at the library, I found myself driving down the highway breathing along with the scuba tank regulators.  Check it out for your next trip.

© 2010 Nancy L. Ruder

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