I've been reading a lot lately. Like I can't stop. I don't know what it is, but I have to read everything!
Growing up, I wasn't much of a reader. I have always loved books though. My mom always bought us books as gifts, and I have always been all about them. Literally since the time I was a child, I have kept lists of books I wanted to publish. I was always writing and illustrating books, and any school project I could turn into a book with content, I did.
However, I was (am) dyslexic in a way that made it difficult to read and comprehend because I couldn't move from one line to the next, and all I could see was the negative space between the words that formed rivers on the pages. I would end up reading the same line over and over, and become so frustrated that I just didn't really read. I observed.
I loved the stories, I loved the ideas, I just had a hard time. In the seventh grade I discovered a section in the library of AMS of large print books. I checked out The Trumpet of the Swan by EB White, and it was the first book book I really truly read on my own. Up until that point I had just been faking it in my classes. Which is an awful thing for a child to have to invent ways to get by, because school wasn't working for me. Anyway the large print helped me to actually be able to move from line to line, and pick out the words not the shapes in between the words. And I loved it. And I remember being so moved by it. How could you not, it's such a sweet story, and EB White is a master of style.
So I started reading more. I exhausted the large print section.
The next year, Harry Potter came out. I was and am most certainly a book by the cover kind of girl, and the illustration was by Mary Grandpre and the gold embossing was too much for me to resist. So on one of our weekend visits to our favorite children's book store, Tree House Reader, where I would eventually get my first job, my Mom let me get Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. She asked me if I was really going to read it. I told her I would, and I don't know if either of us believed me. Within the next year, I read it. I was amazed, and astonished, and moved, and frightened, and so thoroughly captivated. I didn't know anything could do that. So in 1998, I became a reader. And we have Mary Grandpre to thank just as much as JK Rowling, because we wouldn't have gotten the book if I hadn't been so dazzled by the cover.
Reading was something that I needed to practice, and because it was difficult, and exhausting, I didn't stick with it, but when I was finally captivated I kept reading, and then I got better at reading, and what I'm saying is basically, Harry Potter changed my life. And I have always read since
Anyway. I've been starving for words these days, and new knowledge. And it never made sense to me before how people could be in multiple books at a time. But I find myself in 9 books. And they are strewn about my little apartment, and when I get a minute I sit down and pick one up where I left off.
Here is a rundown of what I'm reading:
Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones: A have a couple of friends with my same Ice Cream maker, and I'm always looking for ice cream recipes, and ideologies about ice cream, so when I saw this book was released by the peeps at Bi-Rite Creamery in San Fran, it had to get added to my list, and my dear sweet Jessica scooped it up for me for my birthday. Which was yesterday, btw.
The Elements of Style: I'm always in and out of this, so it's always around. I really love this illustrated version. But I have a serious love for EB White. So much so a child will probably be named Elwyn Blake.
Urban Pantry: I don't know where I first started reading this book, now that I think of it, it could actually have been on the look inside feature on Amazon. Anyway its been on my list for a while, and Melysses chose it for my birthday. It's a great resource, and I'm a resource reader.
Home Made: Again, a birthday book. This time from my lovely Mom. I first fell in love with this book on the farm, and have been dreaming of it ever since. I don't know about you, but I really love reading cookbooks. In fact, it's my fastest growing book category. I love the insights, and the processes. I also love reading recipes, and the more recipes you read the more you are all like, ahhh I see what they did there. I'm a cookbook reader, and Omnivore is my dream bookstore.
East of Eden: It is my very favorite book. Of all time. It literally changed my life. It made Steinbeck my number one all time favorite author. When I was in Portland at the end of March I got a copy of it for Kenneth. It's the book that I'm always giving to people. I had given away my last copy to a friend who had come to stay with me last summer, and so when I had purchased a new copy, and it wasn't for me, I had a little pang to own a copy again and dive back in. Also, if Kenneth was reading it I wanted to be reading it too so everything would be fresh and we could discuss it. Anyway, I'm in it again, and so loving it. So much of it is really haunting in a perfect truthful Steinbeck way. Perfect summer evening read.
Crossing the Unknown Sea: Kenneth got me this for my birthday. I've started reading it, and already he is making more sense to me. It's really interesting when you read someones book. The book that has helped define and shape them. For me, East of Eden, for him, Crossing the Unknown Sea (among others for both). It puts the intricate things of a person that you say to yourself, "that's interesting," or "that must be a family thing," or "I'm intrigued why this means so much to you," into context. Aside from it being enlightening about the giver, the book is fantastic, and i'm excited to really get into it further. The way David Whyte writes makes sense to me.
Small-Plot, High-Yield: Not this year, but last year, I had a little time in Powells before I went to the airport after my class wrapped at PNCA, and this is when my desire to garden was piqued. I picked up this book, and I couldn't put it down. I really like the author, and I like the way he says things. He is very frank, and very confident in your success, by your hard labor. This is another one I got for my birthday. It's hard to put this one down. If you are looking to get into gardening for food production, then this is really great book with lots of plans. But I will write a separate gardening book blog post in a little while...
The Liver Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse: I was over at a friends house, and saw this on her shelf. I asked if she had read it, and she hadn't gotten all the way through it. I asked to borrow it, and told her that I would read it and tell her what to do to do the cleanse. I went home and read it, and keep reading it. You've all got uncalcified gallstones in your liver. Sorry.
Bradbury Stories: 100 of His Most Celebrated Tales: This man was a genius. And these stories are fascinating. The first one in the book is so frightening it will literally take all the breath out of your body. Especially if you are an unmarried lady who lives by herself. Me. I've read 4 or 5 so far and all I can say about Ray Bradbury is that he's a real poet, and no matter what he's writing whether it's sweet, or very scary, or futuristic, or historic, there is a romantic quality in his work that I didn't pick up on when I was younger. This is a delightful book to be able to just pick up and read something new and relatively quick. I'm marking the ones I want to read out loud when we start taking trips up to Jackson later in the summer.
So there you have it. What are you reading this summer?