Monday, October 22, 2007

So Many Books, So Little Time (thoughts)

Before I talk about the book, just wanted to announce that Shannon over at Just Another Musing won the second draw! She went with Tithe, so I'll draw another winner shortly. :) Gotta love the read-a-thon! Now, on to a book I read before the read-a-thon, and that I've been meaning to review. :D

I devoured So Many Books, So Little Time by Sara Nelson in the night it got in, and when I finally turned the last page, I felt completely satisfied. Sara Nelson and I have only two things in common: we're women, and we love books. But that's part of what makes reading this book so fun; I could see how our joint hobby played out in a very different kind of life. Nelson discusses how events in her life influenced her reading choices and vice versa. Her mix of informal book reviews and personal anecdotes actually felt like reading a great book blog. Soothing, funny, enjoyable...Nelson reminded me that I'm not alone in my reading obsession. If I had found this book before the blogging community, I'm sure it would've blown my mind to find a kindred spirit. As it is, I was just glad to be able to read a whole year's worth of reading experience without bothering with my laptop! Everyone who enjoys reading book blogs will probably enjoy this book!

Favourite Passages

...the busier I've gotten over the years-the more family and work activities, the more friends to keep up with, the more duties of adulthood and parenthood, the more, well life-the more, not the less, I've read, (6)

Reading's ability to beam you up to a different world is a good part of the reason people like me do it in the first place, because dollar for dollar, hour per hour, it's the most expedient way to get from our proscribed little "here" to an imagined, intriguing "there." Part time machine, part Concorde, part ejection seat, books are our salvation. (12)

Explaining the moment of connection between a reader and a book to someone who's never experienced it is like trying to describe sex to a virgin. A friend of mine says that when he meets a book he loves, he starts to shake involuntarily. For me, the feeling comes in a rush: I'm readingalong and suddenly a word or phrase or scene enlarges before my eyes and soon everything around me is just so much fuzzy background. The phone can ring, toast can burn, the child can call out, but to me, they're all in a distant dream. The book-this beautiful creature in my hands!-is everything I've ever wanted, as unexpected and inevitable as love. (33)

I may have come late to passaionte reading, but I caught on pretty early that a book can be the perfect shield against potentially piercing situations. Not only is reading a distraction during difficult times...but it's a highly socially respectable means of social avoidance. You can't tell an obnoxious seatmate on a plane, for example, taht his obstreperous pontificating about the virtues of saccharin over NutraSweet is driving you batty, but you can tell him you're in the middle of
A Tale of Two Cities and you simply must get back to it. (39)

Allowing yourself to stop reading a book-at page 25, 50, or even, less frequently, a few chapters from the end-is a rite of passage in a reader's life, the literary equivalent of a bar mitzvah or a communiion, the moment at which you can look at yourself and announce: Today I' am an adult. I can make my own decisions. (55)

And in every case, the sun came up the day after I bagged these books. There was no quiz in the morning, no Reading Police at my door. Not the mention that the books themselves went on to greatness and comfortable spots on the bestseller lists. (57)

The idea, I guess, is to turn a book into a media event, but this is a strategy that has major backfire potential. For me-as, I believe for a lot of readers-when a book gets overhyped, we get mad. We're a funny, cliquish group, we book people, and sometimes we resist liking-or even resist opening-the very thing everybody tells us we're supposed to like. (61)

An occasional disagreement over a book's merit should not be a big deal to normal people, but the people I love-and the person I am-are not normal; we're book people. TO us, disagreeing about something we read is as shocking and disruptive as, say, deciding that we hate each other's husbands. (67)

I believe that an unreturned book beween friends is like a deb unpaid. It can linger, fester, throb like a sore wound. THe best preventative medicine is the simplest: Return All Books. (70)

What draws a particular reader to a particular story can be completely idiosyncratic....Reading is highly personal and often revealing. Readers have superstitious preferences and irrational dislikes. (115)

You can't eat pizza while reading
The House of Mirth....You have to have long stretches of uninterrupted time to read The House of Mirth. You also have to have quiet. A long, rainy weekend afternoon would work. So would a couple of luxuriously sleepless nights in a well-appointed, comfortable bed. (117)

One of the good things about having a partner who is just a tiny bit oblivious to the links between reading and life is that he doesn't take particular note that the two books you've brought on your three-week family vacation are
Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary. (141)


Tara said...

I loved this book. Loved, loved, loved it. You've chosen some lovely passages to share. I think it was this book that gave me the ability to say 'I'm not going to finish this book' - and to find that that's okay.

Booklogged said...

Such beautiful passages. I just received this book in the mail the other day. Your review makes me anxious to read it.

melanie said...

this is one of my favorite books ever. i tell everyone who loves reading they must read this book!!
the best advice i ever got was her giving "permission" to stop reading bad books.