Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Art of Reading

Ken and I are both avid readers.  Ken claims to be more avid than me because he reads what I refer to as "learning books."  Which are just non-fiction.  Like reading non-fiction gets you more points or something.  I don't like non-fiction.  We discussed our reading styles during his weekend visit home.  (For you new followers... my husband is in...a minimal security prison.) 
I am currently reading a book by one of my favorite authors, David Sedaris.  It's called When You Are Engulfed In Flames.  And it's terribly funny.  I'm 85% done with it and am dreading finishing it.  For then I will have to find a new book.  This is my trouble area.  Ken says I struggle so much with it because I have never taken the time to figure out what kind of books I really like.  I always just read what people recommend.  Sometimes those recommendations are fabulous.  Excellent book recommendations that comes to mind are The Time Traveler's Wife, Life of Pi, and A Thousand Splendid Suns.  Sometimes recommendations are garbage.  What comes to mind are Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel and A Severe Mercy and Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse.  I didn't waste my time with Breaking Dawn.  It took three books but I finally realized Stephanie Myers can't write worth a wooden nickel and my heart will  always belong to Ron Weasley. I admit I do read or at least start reading whatever books are thrown my way.  Nasty habit.  But I disagree with Ken's accusation that I don't know what kind of books I really like.  I read to be thoroughly entertained.  I occasionally need to take a break from darning socks and wash-boarding our laundry in the creek to relax.  The book doesn't have to be funny.  But it must entertain me.  I don't want to learn anything.  I just want to escape.  Be completely enveloped in a new story with deep characters.  Or laugh hysterically at short essays with shallow characters.
Ken thinks it's a shame that I don't like reading to learn.  But, uh, what was college for?  Plus, I don't want to be quizzed by people on what I am reading.  Take Ken. Ken is reading a book on the building of the Panama Canal.  It's called Between the Seas.  He's loving it.  When he tells people what he is reading there are always follow up questions.  And follow up questions are stressful for me.  You can't really have your own opinion on the Panama Canal, right?  It's just facts-so you either have to memorize a bunch of what you read or sound like someone who is trying to sound smart by reading learning books.  It's like when I tell someone I am from Pittsburgh.  And they ask if I like the Steelers.  And I say yes.  And they ask what I thought of that game.  And I didn't watch any game.  And I look like an idiot.
Summary:  I don't read learning books.  You can ask any Tom Sawyer, Emily Dickinson, or Harry Potter- I'll take a recommendation from anyone just so I don't hurt the recommender's feelings.  And, finally, Ken says if he does a guest-post on this blog it would be a book report of Between the Seas.  I'll try to keep him away.

But, cool fact about the Panama Canal it took 44 years to build and on average 27 workers died a month working on it.


Karlenn said...

27 people per month died??? Wow. Sorry. I got distracted there. I do like non-fiction books, but they have to be very entertaining, which is tough. So I read a lot of fiction. I don't know how Ken can stand reading such boring stuff. Almost everything I read is based on recommendation by friends, also. Sometimes the books are a wonderful fit for me. Sometimes I really hate them (a.k.a. The Alchemist, wink, wink). Nothing is worse than investing the time in getting a book from the library, and then having the book suck. I get really sad about that.

Brett and Tiffany said...

I am with you! I don't like reading fact books either! I would never remember all the facts I read! Have you read books by Shannon Hale? Great books, in my opinion. I think you would like them!