Sunday, July 10, 2011


i have a confession to make:  i'm a whore.  a book whore, that is.

typically, during the summer when my teaching load is light, i read voraciously.  i don't know if it's especially bad this summer because last semester was so grueling, but i have read myself into a bit of a pickle.

i'm right smack dab in the middle of seven books.

now, reading multiple books isn't usually a problem for me.  i think it has to do with the years of majoring in english and being forced to read multiple books for classes at the same time.  i can easily keep track...usually.

i think the problem here is the number.  i've never had quite this many books going all at once.  usually, i try to keep my "active read" column in the three to four range--a number that is completely manageable and allows me to keep track of all the various details and plots being laid out for me.

right now, i'm in the middle of seven.

while i haven't yet reached a point in this bibliomania where i'm losing track of details, i am nearing that point.

and i keep buying books.  and starting to read them.  just friday i bought three more and had to actively force myself not to pick them up.

seven i can apparently handle; eight might be pushing it.

so here's a list of my current reads (note the epic ADD quality to the list) and the reasons:

1)  the maltese falcon by dashiell hammet
why: a dear friend of mine adores hammett and swears by the hard-boiled vintage crime novels (fyi--he does a stellar 1940s private eye voice).  so, in a recent trip to denton's best bookstore, i picked it up.  i have absolutely no experience with this kind of text, so it's something exciting and new for me.  and here's the sick part:  i'm freaking loving it--me!  the girl who has all kinds of trouble with novels.  it's fresh and fun, with a perfect balance of wit, charm, and intrigue.  it probably doesn't hurt that i'm picturing humphrey bogart and hearing my buddy's 1940s voice while reading.  and, i'm almost done with this one...

2)  in the garden of beasts by erik larson
why:  i've read everything larson has ever written.  i find his style to be quite good--he can weave a true story so well that it seems like fiction.  he's one of my faves.  this one, to be frank, has been a bit of a letdown.  i mean,  it's about the freaking nazis--that has to be enthralling, right?!  it's interesting, but not as intriguing as his other works.  i keep waiting for it it pick up...

3) the worst hard time by timothy egan
why: i love narrative nonfiction, and on a random click-fest one evening stumbled upon this book.  i've never been a fan of american history, but this one seemed intriguing and was about an event i don't know much about.  it's good.  there have been moments where i'm a bit bored, but they are quick to go away and seem few and far between.  i'm just now getting to the really juicy part (i think).

4)  the psychopath test by jon ronson
why: ronson is always hit or miss with me, so when my sister told me he had a new book out i was cautiously optimistic.  i'm enjoying reading this one, though i don't think i quite get it.  i don't feel like i know where he's going or what, beyond the definition of psychopaths, he's getting at.  we'll see...

5)  the devil and sherlock holmes by david grann
why:  first, let me say something shocking:  the lost city of z sucked.  i know.  i'm alone on an iceberg in this opinion.  this book, though, is fun.  i find grann's style to be a bit stilted, so i don't enjoy reading him over a long period, so this book, comprised of many small investigations into various murder, mayhem, and mystery, is right up my alley.  i get my fill of interesting story, and when i'm reaching that point where i'm bored with his prose, the investigation comes to an end.  it's the perfect marriage of my attention span and grann's investigative skills.

6) la increible y triste historia de la candida erendira y de su abuela desalmada by gabriel garcia marquez
why:  i'm a huge marquez fan, and i am "technically" fluent in spanish, but i've never tried reading marquez in spanish.  it would be like speaking farsi from birth, moving to england and reading milton the second you learn english--HARD.  but, through some encouragement from a friend and bravery on my part, i'm accomplishing it.  and IT IS GOOD.  marquez is amazing in english, but man, in spanish--i have no words.  incredible.

7) love and intrigue by frederick schiller
why: my bestie and i were watching graham norton one night and one of the interviewees (alex kingston) mentioned this play (she's currently in a production in london).  i had never heard of the guy but am teaching world lit 2 next semester and thought it might be something to look into.  she described him as the german shakespeare but better because the play starts in the middle of the action.  it's like romeo and juliet without all the wooing at the beginning.  dark, sad, and deliciously good.  goethe will be taking a vacation from my class this semester...

so there you have it.  a not so brief look at my book-whorish ways.

i'm off to finish the maltese falcon (so i can start raymond chandler's the big sleep).

No comments: