iHad iPad

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Reading is always difficult for me during the school year–hours of grading and planning leave little time for recreation, and my exhaustion at 9 each evening doesn’t lend itself to reading more than a page or two. But I recently noticed a disturbing habit that has crept into my reading life. Because I have the New Yorker and some novels on my iPad Kindle app, I’m only a button push away from Facebook and Pinterest and blogs and Etsy and eBay and Amazon and email and … I’m guessing you get the idea. So the reading that I do do, takes considerably longer and I’m horribly distracted. Who knew this could happen to me, a lifelong reader and book hoarder?

So for a period of time (I don’t know how long) I’ve decided to go back to reading print only; my iPad will be in another room, not resting alongside me as it usually is. I’ve gone back to Elizabeth I (again!) and have a couple books arriving from Amazon tomorrow. For a while I’ll be turning pages, not swiping a screen. 

Remembering Nora

I remember reading Nora Ephron’s Heartburn in the mid-eighties … and I remember my (mental, anyway!) gasp when I read that the delightful novel was Ephron’s revenge after her marriage to journalist Carl Bernstein failed. Here she sums up the deliciousness that is reading. I should probably frame it.

May you find endless stacks in your life beyond, Nora. Happy reading forever. 

Chicks on Books

The first ever meeting of the Chicks on Books book club met today at M’s! A great group with strong opinions and never at a loss for words–what could be better?!(In fact, how does one know if the discussion is too animated?) I am looking forward to the summer books we’ll read … and also a bit surprised that the initial books, anyway, are non-fiction. Who knew? Always an avid reader, I’ve only just started reading non-fiction myself in the past several years–really with the advent of my AP class. I would have thought that the bent would have gone towards fiction, my all-time favorite get-away.

We’ve checked off The Glass Castle today. July’s read will be Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhonda Janzen; August will see us reading Oracle Bones by Peter Hessler. Can’t wait!

Missing

This month’s Wired had an intriguing article about individuals who have decided to simply vanish–burdened by the mess they’ve made of their life, usually either relationships or illegal business dealings.(Check out “Gone” by Evan Ratliff; Sept. 09) Seems that none of the folks ever really vanished–that, now matter how airtight they thought their plan, they tripped themselves up somehow when they relaxed their guard. Ratliff is even trying to see if he can disappear for 30 days–$5000 if anyone finds him!

Of course Ratliff mentioned Huck Finn and Great Gatsby, both literary characters who sought to make their lives over. Curious also is the fact that the vanishing acts featured in Wired are all men. I wonder how many novels have been written about these kind of vanishing acts? I can think only of Ann Tyler’s Ladder of Years where Delia walks off the beach, down the road, and onto a new life. Any others?

Finally Summer


This has got to be one of the loneliest books I’ve ever read. It was beautiful, don’t get me wrong–but every page pulled at my heart. And if one of the loneliest books, probably also one of the most truthful. I thought how close I came to Ella’s story and whether or not my choice was the better one. Lonely, yet redemptive, somehow, as the characters touched and blended their lives–which should be the story of all of our lives as we live this incarnation.

But today is truly the start of summer. The kitchen is almost done, I stayed for the rosary after mass, and I’ve read three books. I was a bit frantic this morning, wondering, now that the hustle and bustle have ended, what I was to do with myself. The remedy? Ease into summer and drink long draughts!