Once upon a time, I was an insatiable book addict. I kept a tome with me almost everywhere I went, stuffed in pockets, stacked between textbooks, tucked in my desk just out of view from my teacher. From my earliest chapter books straight into my mid-twenties, most of my spare time - along with many an hour that wasn't really "spare" - was spent flipping pages and breaking bindings in the never ending quest to find out how it ends. You could say I had a bit of a problem.
Then I got a smart phone, and, slowly but surely, my little addiction took on a new form. It was so much easier to reach for my phone than keep track of where I'd left my book. Easier to convince myself that quickly checking Facebook would take less time than taking in the next chapter, easier to follow shared links and bookmarked blogs than decide what book I wanted to read next.
I still appreciate the exposure to styles and subjects I wouldn't have looked up on my own, but reading only what shows up on a Facebook newsfeed lacks a certain agency, and for every worthwhile article I read on a shared suggestion, I read five that were really a waste of my time. Meanwhile, a new National Geographic arrived in my mailbox each month only to join the stack of issues purchased and unread. Online, I found myself putting off reading the thought-provoking and well-written only to snap up the easy and insipid on impulse. It's hard to read healthy when your browsing a webful of brain candy. I had eluded three kids worth of baby-brain, and here my head was being emptied by my smart phone.
The clincher, however, was Twitterature. I found out about Modern Mrs. Darcy's monthly book review link-up via This Vintage Moment. I loved the idea of sharing book reviews with other avid readers, and decided to comment with my current book once I finished it. Next month came, but I wasn't done that book. Same with the month after. This was getting out of hand. It was high time to either get myself to the library or relinquish my bookworm status. And so here I am, back in the world of print and paper, linking up to keep myself honest. I hope to have something to report next month too - minus the lengthy preamble ;)
Here's what I've been reading:
The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
I've read this novel once or twice before, but this was my first reread as an adult. It's a wonderful story about coming to life, and how fresh air, sunshine, and a little loving attention can work miracles on even the most neglected. It was delightful to read about the magic of spring in the dead of winter, and I had far more sympathy for Mary Lennox than ever before. She reminds me of my own little girl who can be nearly as contrary as Burnett's central character, but just as open to wonder when given the chance. A change in perspective can make all the difference.
Left Neglected, by Lisa Genova
I've been looking forward to this one ever since I finished Still Alice, Genova's debut about living with Alzheimer's. It did not disappoint. It's a fascinating look at life after brain damage, seen through the eyes of the injured herself, and how one woman reevaluates her career, relationships, and self-image once she's forced to slow down long enough to see them properly. I loved the story, the perspective, and another chance to geek out over brain science.
The Blythes are Quoted, by L.M. Montgomery
I wasn't sure about picking up Montgomery's long-lost volume of short stories, poetry, and vignettes, but I'm so glad I took the plunge. The stories are longer and fuller than their Road to Yesterday renditions, adding suspense to the jokes and mysteries, and time to the rather rushed romances. I wasn't too keen on the poems, but they were worth slogging through to get to the Ingleside commentary that followed them. The pre-war vignettes cracked me up, and the post-war ones explain why the work wasn't published in 1942. An illuminating read for any Montgomery fan.
That's all for this round. Back to the bookshelf I go :)