Tuesday, February 24, 2015

To Be Read

I hope that you're all staying warm and safe out there.
I've been doing okay. I'm finding myself not finishing an awful lot of books that I pick up to read, lately, though. At any given time, my "To Be Read" pile is about 40-50 books deep. I'm not kidding.

...and that's only about half of it. As you can see, through used book shops and Friends of the Library sales, I've picked up some great titles, and I can't wait to get to them. Some of these poor things have been on this shelf for years.
I got tired of just staring at the wall of "also ran"s, so, I made myself stop buying new books for a bit (and for the most part, I've been successful keeping to that idea) so that I can whittle down the TBR pile. But for the last four or five pulls, the books wind up not that great. Not a huge deal--off to the "free book" pile at the school. I don't regret the money, and someone, somewhere will love the book. I'm just finding myself...surprised?...taken aback?...it feels strange to have grown so picky. There was a time I could remember that I was happy with just about anything that I got my hands on.
I remember having to leave behind an entire box of books on the sidewalk in front of my mom's apartment before we left Arizona for Alabama because there wasn't room in the car. The entire little library I'd built for myself up until the age of 18. I've talked about going back and starting to get copies of those old sci fi paperbacks in an earlier blog. Still, though; even if I get all those books back, they won't be that one box.
In my memory, it was raining that day. It may not have actually been. Those poor books that had given me such joy and escape from the devastatingly shitty way my life was going back then and I left them there to warp and slowly go to pulp.
Pathetic, no? Still, that's where my brain goes from time to time.
One newer book that I did allow myself to get, though, was Andrew McConnell Stott's book, The Poet and the Vampyre


So far, it's really great. I was never intensely interested in the birth of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein until a few semesters ago when I had to pinch-hit teach a Brit Lit 2 course at the last minute. I was looking for ways to relate to the material and I came across the story of the Villa Diodati. Like most people, I was hooked. Trouble was that while there are a lot of books and articles out there about that infamous night, they are all told from a very academic point of view. I wanted something more narratively fulfilling, and Stott's book is really delivering so far.
I hope your February is going by quickly and that warm weather and blue skies come to you soon. See you next month.

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