Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Book Juggling

I know I'm not the only one, the unfaithful sort who juggles more than one book at a time. I've tried to be true, staying between the covers of one book at a time. I have to remind myself that multi-tasking is not one of the virtues; at best, it's a flaw.

I am thankful that I have cultivated a mind that can shift from one text to another and back again; otherwise, my career would be a reader's nightmare. After all, I spent far too much time reading prose I assigned, assigning a grade. So many other teachers I know don't seem to be able to read for pleasure during the school year. Then they pick summer reads that are more like guilty pleasure than literature. I read all year long, every chance I get. I keep a book by the bedside, sometimes one on the back of the commode (who wants to be caught unprepared?), one in the car (often an audiobook).

Right now I just finished listening to Sophie Kinsella's Remember Me, a lightweight book on CD I picked up for my ride home from Nashville. When driving alone, after all, I find people frown upon my reading behind the wheel. The novel's premise was clever (a young woman wakes in the hospital to find she's lost about three years of memory during which time she's transformed to a working class girl nicknamed Snagglepuss to a wealthy, tanned, toned executive married to a millionaire she doesn't even recognize.) Dont' wait for the Spark Notes. It's not up for the Pulitzer. It was just fun.

On my nightstand is an uncorrected advanced reader's proof of Jimmy Carter's memoir of his mother Lillian. I'm working on a review for the Charlotte Observer to run on Mother's Day. Whenever I read anyone's memoirs, I'm reminded how much more we are alike than different. I never ran for president of the United States, but his family stories evoke memories of my own.

On my Sony eBook, I'm reading Ken Follett's World Without End, the long-awaited sequel to Pillars of the Earth. I love reading about the English Middle Ages, but I believe Follett's characters are engaging no matter when they are set. This book, like its predecessor, follows activity in the same cathedral town. The class system, the church, medicine, trade, and especially building are also essential elements of this novel.

Next on my book club slot is Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff. It was my most recent selection from the Lemuria Bookstore's First Editions Book Club. (If you don't know about that, you should. Ask me.) I'll report more when I've read it. I am also ready to dip into Sara Davidson's Leap, a book exploring the phenomenon she calls "the Narrows," the point where we aging Baby Boomers realize, "Hey, I am old But I may live thirty or forty more year. What am I going to do with the rest of my life?"

I plan post for Shakespeare's birthday next week. Keep a look out. Stay in touch.

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