Thursday, July 21, 2005

Summer Books

My schoolwork is suffering because I haven't been able to tear myself away from some good reads this summer. After all, in my eyes reading is the main purpose for summer. Why go outside to brave scorching heat and stifling humidity when the air conditioner is on inside and there are books on the shelf that I haven't gotten to yet? Why pick up a required book that I have to write a paper on when there is a novel on the shelf that I haven't gotten to yet? And why take classes, if not to fill the shelves with books to be read that colleagues recommend? The latest such book arrived today: Dreams of My Russian Summers by Andreï Makine. The postman stuffed it into my tiny mailbox along with the usual smattering of credit card offers. That stressed me out a bit because I envisioned a crumpled, bent book as I tore the envelope off, but happily it survived and it is sitting here tempting me greatly.

Yesterday I got no work done becuase I had to finish Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake. I had started it on the recumbent bike Monday--the only way I'll exercise is with interesting reading material in hand--and had managed to limit myself to a chapter a day until yesterday, Wednesday, when it gripped me and declared that I should do no more work until I had consumed it. I did this gladly. Today I read my assigned reading on the bike. Not as much fun, but there are acts for which one must perform rites of cleansing and retribution. I've got about 18 more pages of it, and then I get to write a paper and a journal on it (yippee--ha!) The class ends Saturday, though, and then I can devote myself more fully to my reading.

I've been thinking, though, that I'm in a pickle: I don't know what I'll take with me to read on vacation. I will be gone a very long time, and I don't want to carry that many books with me. I thought about taking the Chronicles of Narnia, which I bought in a one-book edition at the beginning of the summer, but I've already read two of the books this summer so that would mean hauling around two books I have no intention of reading. I will probably take The Name of the Rose with me, although that will cause me to be the butt of more than one joke from my dad and my sister, because I've been reading it for three summers now (in Italian.) Two months ago, Amilynne thought she would read it (in English), but she found it poorly written and boring and refused to continue. I was appalled that she would find it boring becuase I have been fascinated by it, even if I've been reading it very slowly. We argued until one of us decided to blame the translator. Anything to keep the peace.

Well, the assigned book calls, not as loudly as the unassigned ones do, but since the paper is due Saturday I must face priorities.

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