Saturday, April 24, 2010

Reading Books

My daughter who's prepping to go away to college soon has challenged me to join her in reading a book a week, and preferably a novel (in addition to her schoolwork and to all my other work and play).

Here's one of my favorite bits so far from what I'm finishing this weekend:
Dear Ms. Singer,
I just finished your translation of the poems of Nicanor Parra, who, as you say, "wore on his lapel a little Russian astronaut, and carried in his pocket the letters of a woman who left him for another." It's sitting here next to me on the table in my room in a pensione overlooking the Grand Canal.  I don't know what to say about it, except that it moved me in a way one hopes to be moved each time he begins a book.  What I mean is, in some way I'd find almost impossible to describe,it changed me.  But I won't go on about that....
That's from page 55 of The History of Love by Nicole Strauss.

I love how there's so much going on all at once, in the characters, in their letters, in their lives.  You hear many voices in Strauss's writing, and you get to see how some of them have changed her, perhaps are her.  For example, the dedication is below:

And then one of the protagonists is trying to figure out where she's come from and who she is, and we read this chart on page 96:

Her mother is telling her she's not of any one race.  And after considering all the mix, she shouts back, "I'M AMERICAN," to which her little brother (the religious one, whom some refer to as 'the Moshiach') replies, "No, you're not.  You're Jewish."

Last weekend, it was re-reading Alan Lightman's Einstein's Dreams.  That one also explores life change, and the subconscious influences.

Books I'm looking forward to reading include:
Cari M. Carpenter's (or rather also Victoria Woodhull's) Selected Writings of Victoria Woodhull: Suffrage, Free Love, and Eugenics.

Edith Grossman's Why Translation Matters(And what makes me even more interested is this exciting essay of hers!)

Yann Martel's Beatrice and Virgil.

David Rosenberg's An Educated Man: A Dual Biography of Moses and Jesus.
You might just find some bits from these here to read soon.  Don't know about you, don't know how, but reading changes me.


Bitsy Griffin said...

One of my favorite topics - reading! When my oldest son was a senior, we read every book at nearly the same time for his AP English course. Little different, but still a great experience. I started by picking each up when he finished it, then he just started buying two at a time.

Reading a book a week has been a personal goal for a long time. Last year, I tried to up it to two books a week. Didn't quite make that one, but it's still on the list of things to do.

J. K. Gayle said...

Welcome Bitsy! You and your son sound smart. Did you do that meme once upon a time in which you listed books and authors who've influenced your reading of the bible? I'd love to read your list! And I may get book recommendations from you.

My start in reading was with my mother, as she was home schooling my elder sibling. Through the years, we've continued to read together. Now it's fun to continue the legacy with my kids. My eldest (not the daughter mentioned) wasn't much of reader until he got hooked on some good books at college. I love the change(s) that reading does
encourage in us readers.