Sunday Salon: Reading on the Go
I always find it fascinating when bloggers mention whipping out a book to read while they wait in line. There is no way I could do that; in fact, even if I’m at home and now I’m going to leave in about ten minutes, I won’t open my book. I prefer to lose myself in an author’s world, and to read in ‘chunks’ of between forty and sixty pages at a time. At the very least, I want to know I’ll be able to finish a chapter before I start one. If I try stop-and-go reading, I often find myself being annoyed by the book or feeling like I can never quite catch my breath. To have a wonderful reading experience, I need time and space to settle into the book. This doesn’t mean I’m one of those who stares off into space in lines or waiting rooms. My solution is to just bring an Economist with me; since it’s a magazine, the articles are much shorter, so I can usually get through at least one. I save my books for longer stretches of reading time. I realise this is a luxury, and of course if my only choice were to read in bits and pieces I’d choose that over never reading. But as it is, I only carry a book in my purse when I’m going some place, like a cafe or restaurant, where I intend to read.
I had already planned to write about this when I fortuitously came across the following passage in Nancy Malone’s Walking a Literary Labyrinth:
The need that some of us have to change our prayer and reading to suit our circumstances points to at least two kinds of readers and prayers: pilgrims and monks. There are those, like Muslims unfurling their prayer rugs no matter where they are and orienting themselves towards Mecca, who can find “here” anywhere. And there are those who need a “monastery.” I am a monk. For me, focused reading and praying seem to require the same conditions: a certain stability, a sense of myself, the ability to give my full attention to what I am doing, and a deree of physical comfort.
I’ll happily join Malone in the monk camp! So, which are you?
Books I Would Have Loved, Except for One or Two Little Quibbles or Books I Really, Really Liked
Read The Perfectly Imperfect Home by Deborah Needleman & Virginia Johnson if…you’re looking for decorating inspiration or just in need of some eye candy (the rooms are all protrayed as these fun, gorgeous sketches) or you need a Domino fix.
Read Unnatural Causes by P.D. James if…you enjoy mysteries that focus as much as on the characters’ psychology as on clues.
Read Walking a Literary Labryinth by Nancy M. Malone if…you love memoirs, especially those of a literary and religious bent and don’t have the expectation that this is solely a ‘book about books’ (it’s as much about Malone’s life experiences than her literary ones).
Books I Definitely Liked, Although They Didn’t Blow Me Away or Books that had Great Points Counterbalanced by Not-Great Ones
Read Fury by Salman Rushdie if…you’re working your way through his books and are curious to see what his mid-life crisis produced (that’s my only explanation, anyway; take heart, the last sixty-ish pages sort of redeem the middle bits, enough for me to go from two stars to a grudging three at least).
Read Learning to See Creatively by Bryan Peterson if…you want some new ideas for photography that’s focused on the philosophical/artistic angle as much as the more technical side (also, I read the 1988 original edition, which made me deeply grateful for digital cameras and their instant feedback!).