Saturday, 15 March 2014

Twitterature: an effort to reclaim my brain

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 :)

12 comments:

  1. I enjoyed Left Neglected as well. The brain sure is fascinating. I re-read The Secret Garden not long ago, too, after not reading it for many years. I had forgotten about the ending; that part seemed a bit strange to me -- I kept turning the page to see whether it was really done! But it's so beautiful.

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    1. The ending of the Secret Garden cropped up rather quickly for me this time too. Maybe adult literature tends to take a little longer to get to the point? Thanks for stopping by :)

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  2. The Secret Garden is SO wonderful. I loved it as a little girl and can't wait for my own to read it. I will never be the same after the Colin discovery--I could not imagine that an author would surprise me like that! Ah, reading nostalgia. :)

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    1. I can't wait for my kids to read Burnett either. I mused about reading the Secret Garden aloud to my almost seven-year-old (i.e. my own Miss Contrary), but I'm afraid of butchering the Yorkshire. Hopefully I can scrounge up my copy of "The Little Princess" and read that one to her instead. And yes, reading nostalgia is the best! Thanks for stopping by :)

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  3. Oh, Left Neglected (and Still Alice) sounds fascinating! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. They are! And so well researched to boot. Happy reading!

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  4. Ooo... I'm re-reading the Anne series right now, so The Blythe's are Quoted sounds like a wonderful way to conclude the streak. :)

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    1. Absolutely! Re-reading the last four Anne books is next on my to-do list. I haven't read them in order of publication yet (Anne of Windy Poplars and Anne of Ingleside were written in the late 30s - what?), so now I have two excuses ;)

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  5. I too lost touch with books for a while there and I'm SO glad to be back with them. :-) It gives me such a thrill to actually finish one again! :-) I'm so glad you brought up The Secret Garden. I've been rereading childrenhood favorites and was ready for my next one but couldn't decide which. You've clinched it for me. :-)

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    1. Right with you on the book finishing thrill :) Reading yet another buzzfeed listsicle just doesn't have the same sense of accomplishment. Enjoy the Secret Garden!

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  6. I'm not familiar with The Blythes are quoted, but I love Anne, so off I go! Thanks for the recommendation.

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