I Found My Strength

October 30th, 2009 - written by

I’m good at reading.

On to #48.


Book Thoughts

Book #46 – Bounce

October 22nd, 2009 - written by

Early early this morning I completed Indignation. It was so-so. Today I start Bounce, by Keith McFarland. I expect it to be so-so as well, but I’m going to start reading it anyway.

Book Thoughts

To Paris, France and Updates On 5 Books

October 19th, 2009 - written by

So I had a plan. And the best laid plans… well you know. This was the entry I prepared en route to Paris last week.

I finished Gilead in good time. During this time while not reading, I thought of Hemingway. A biography of him and the complete collection of his short stories are next on the list and tonight, high above the Atlantic, I begin the first of the two.

Both books are 500+ pgs so in the space of the next 14 days I have over a thousand pages to read, which is something that I have yet to do in so little time. Of course, I’m not bound to the 14 days, but with it being so late in the year I feel like I don’t have much breathing room as I did earlier in the year.

I’m excited for Paris and wasn’t planning on going until the last moment. I went from a job interview straight to the airport and when I return I’ll only have 24 hours before I get back on a plane bound for San Francisco where I will again attend meetings and answer questions. And then I’ll have some decisions to make and I’m grateful for them.

A highlight of the trip will undoubtedly be the Shakespeare & Co. bookstore where I hope to pick up a used copy of Death In The Afternoon or Ulysses, the latter I’ll probably never read but even for the non-religious an unread Old Testament bought In Jerusalem is better to have than an unread Bible from America. And Ulysses, an American novel of Parisian origin, was published by the then-owner of Shakespeare & Co.

There will be a view of the Eiffel Tower from our hotel so I imagine I will enjoy that for several seconds before I set off and look at books both new and used from the oldest bookstore I will have ever entered and in which Hemingway perused regularly. A Movable Feast is very geographically detailed so walking the steps of Hemingway, if I’m inclined to, will be an easy task.

I never made it to the bookstore. The problem was that the more I read about Hemingway, the less I liked him. I read almost 200 pages of his biography and decided I had had enough. The curtain had been pulled back and there was no mysticism anymore. And I no longer had an interest in continuing on.
So I left that book unread, as well as the book of short stories that I will also skip for now and jumped from Gilead straight to Accidental Billionaires. This was a surprisingly enjoyable book and I recommend it to any geek or enthusiast of “TheFacebook”. I finished that in a couple days then picked up my first Philip Roth book, Indignation. I’ll finish that book by Wednesday and then I’ll be a full 3 weeks ahead again with 7 books to go.

So, no. We didn’t see the bookstore but we saw a lot of the Eiffel Tower, The Seine, Notre Dame, Louvre, and all kinds of other fun stuff.

I had low expectation of France and I shouldn’t have. The people there are nice the food is great, and getting around is easy. It was an amazing 3 day trip with Sen, and 2 of our 4 kids.


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Gilead & The Turn of The Page

October 11th, 2009 - written by

I finished last night’s book in that single sitting, something I attribute to the setting. I don’t think I need to go into too much detail about reading A Movable Feast and how much pleasure it gave me. I sat in the front room and for five hours lived in Paris and experienced what Hemingway was experiencing. Not to mention F. Scott Fitzgerald. I may be in Paris, for real, a week from today. We’ll see.

Part of the fun was that I was reading an actual book, with pages and a cover and everything. I wasn’t reading the Kindle. There is a stark difference, maybe not too stark as I didn’t fully recognize it before (although I’ve spoken of “the feeling” before), but when you are reading a bound book you always have a sense of physical depth. You know without even looking how far you are into the book. You know how much you have left to read, and you know in rough approximation what should be happening so that the book ends nice and tidy. Of course, this was a memoir so the ending wasn’t one of resolution. But that is something, one of many things, that you miss when you read from the Kindle.

I love the turning of the page, the imperceptible thinning of the book you hold on the right side and growth of the book on the left. You turn the page and the thickness in your hands doesn’t seem to change, though you know it has. The weight of the book shifts a hundredth of an ounce at a time until you’ve moved the entire book without a thought of it.

I woke up this morning with nothing but my Kindle and nothing to read. When I don’t have something to read I get anxious, and I had no desire to read from my Kindle. So I went down to my library and tried to see something that I may have overlooked and had put aside for a different time. Not all books are meant for all times.

I came across a book that I’ve had for a few years but have never opened. It even had a book plate in it with my name in what appears to be my sister’s handwriting. I don’t recall when I received the book, Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. It was awarded the Pulitzer in 2004 so I received it around that time and in hardcover. It’s a first edition but I don’t know if that means anything since I imagine after the award several thousand more were sent to press.

I’m well into the book now, reading it in bits and pieces throughout today as I go about being a Dad, and I’ve meant to email my sister to thank her for the book (as upon further thought I only have one sister that gives books such as this).

While I feel I can write reasonably well I’m not a prolific emailer. In fact, I loathe email, the informal nature and the instant regret I feel when sending something that wasn’t properly thought out. And of course you can’t be too formal in an email, it throws the conversational nature of the medium off-kilter. So without being able to be formal, and a distaste for correspondence that is loose-tongued, I’m stuck, and emails seem to fly around with me tagging along as a CC participant and while I rarely jump in, I do enjoy reading them. So Sis, thanks for the book, and for your ability to write great emails that everyone enjoys.

Now begins Gilead, book #43.


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A Moveable Feast By Fire

October 11th, 2009 - written by

Tonight is a rare night because my kids are gone with my wife to their grandparents and I have a few hours to myself. I have my book which I’ve begun to treat like a dirty little secret, keeping it hidden from view while waiting longingly for the rare private moment when I can indulge. And this is exactly what I’ve done. I’m reading Hemingway as you may have noticed, he being the only author whose words I form with my lips and silently sound out as I read them. Each word treated like something coveted, dropped one at a time, luring me into a place bereft of the mundane.

It is now past sunset and when I go to the backyard to retrieve the fire grate my breath is heavy and visible. The grapevines are covered in frost, the air void of chirping birds, and so tonight is the night I start a fire, the first fire since the previous winter. I turn off the heat in the house and dim the lights in the front room where the flickering fire is already burning hot. I open up to Paris in the 20s, where it’s raining and a young Ernest Hemingway is eating his oranges, writing his stories, drinking his wine, and having tea with Gertrude Stein. And this is where I’ll be for the next few hours, as cars outside drive past unnoticed, silenced phones will ring futilely, and my own conjured yet uneventful life patiently waits for my return.


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The Lampe Gras and Other Reading Accesories

October 10th, 2009 - written by

Discovered these lamps today, The Lampe Gras. I love a good lamp, something nice and high that comes up behind me while I’m sitting in a nice recliner. I suppose it’s my reclusive version of being in the spotlight. According to the product details page, these lamps were a favorite of Matisse and Picasso, and for $600.00+ it can be a favorite of yours, too.

Lamps, bookcases, reading journals, bookmarks, I love them all. Reading accessories for me are like shoes for…for…Miranda Hobbes (oh boy I had dig down deep for that reference)

Bookcases. The avid reader of course is often somewhat utilitarian with their bookcase choices, as I was when I acquired the three I own now. They aren’t special, from the generally unoriginal IKEA ilk. A recent post over at Creative Cloud had me reeling with literary inadequacy and left me hopelessly embarrassed by my paltry attempt earlier this year to build my library.

The Chair

The Staircase

Check these magnificent creations, some prototypes and others existing.

Also, don’t forget to check out the web’s most comprehensive reference site on bookmarks.


Book Thoughts