Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Where Have I Been?

Really. It's a good question. I turned around and more than a week went by without blogging. How in the world could that have happened? Well, it was the kids, the darned things take up so much of my time. But I did do some reading. And a little book-buying. You know, just to keep my hand in.

Here is the most recent pile of books, some of which were mooched, some found at my mom's house, and some bought full price at my very local bookstore. I actually have an account at that bookstore, which is a very dangerous thing. I walk in, I say, "I want this book, and could you put it on my account?" And then, miracle of miracles, I walk out with said book. Feels like the fifties, no? However, the bill does arrive at the end of the month, and it sometimes comes as a very nasty surprise!

I'm also pretty far into Of Human Bondage, which is a great book. Why haven't I read this before now? Here's a quote about reading, specifically a lonely child's awakening to the magical power of reading:

One day a good fortune befell him, for he hit upon Lane's translation of The Thousand Nights and a Night. He was captured first by the illustrations, and then he began to read, to start with, the stories that dealt with magic, and then the others; and those he liked he read again and again. He could think of nothing else. He forgot the life about him. He had to be called two or three times before he would come to his dinner. Insensibly he formed the most delightful habit in the world, the habit of reading: he did not know that thus he was providing himself with a refuge from all the distress of life; he did not know either that he was creating for himself an unreal world which would make the real world of every day a source of bitter disappointment.
Ah, reading...what power it has!

Details of the pile:
  • A Childhood in Scotland, by Christian Miller--I had read about this on a blog, and can't for the life of me find the entry again, so sorry to whoever I would have linked to! If you read this, let me know, so you can get the credit you deserve! My father grew up in Scotland, so I'm always attracted to books like this...
  • Witch Child, by Celia Rees. Another family obsession. This is a children's book that I had heard compared to The Witch of Blackbird Pond, by Elizabeth George Speare, which I had read as a child and liked, and recently reread. So I ordered it from my son's Scholastic Book Catalog!
  • Uncensored: Views & (Re)views, by Joyce Carol Oates. I had to get this book after seeing it referenced on a blog, and again I can't find the reference. What is up with me and my memory? I remember seeing something on a blog, and then when I go back to where I thought I saw it, I can't find it. It's like the things you lose around the house, and you can picture where they are, but then you go to that spot, and there's nothing there. Arghh! Anyway, on the back it says, "In thirty-eight diverse and provocative pieces, Joyce Carol Oates freely speaks her mind on some of literature's greatest modern authors." It's supposed to be great.


Tara said...

I just wrote about A Childhood in Scotland (last week, maybe) - perhaps that was my post!

Love the stack , and especially the fact that you have an account!

Gentle Reader said...

tara--yes! I read about the book on your blog! Thank you, I thought I was going crazy. And the account is a great and terrible thing :)

BooksPlease said...

A good pile of books. Human Bondage sounds fantastic, I must read it. I've always thought books are magical. The Book of Psalms sounds like one I should read as well. Oh and Joyce Carol Oates ... I could go on and on!

Gentle Reader said...

booksplease--lol, that's how I always feel when I see others' book piles :)

Anonymous said...

Ooh a new book stack! That is so neat about having an account at your bookstore. I can imagine that could get dangerous though :)
Have you started the Ann Patchett book yet? She was in Dallas yesterday and I would have gone but the ticket price was more than the book even. Bummer.

jenclair said...

Great stack! Eager to hear your impressions from each of them. I read of Human Bondage in college, but remember very little which is a shame since it was a "massive, great big" book (as our English guide described anything large when we were on a tour several years ago.

Anonymous said...

Lovely pile and a great quote too! I'll be reading Razor's Edge soon and am very much looking forward to it.

Anonymous said...

That's a lovely book pile, with interesting titles!

It's nice that bookstore would keep tab of your purchases. I wish the bookseller would do the same.

I'm putting Of Human Bondage for the trip over the pond to Asia but I'm happy to hear so many positive comments about it.

Zipping along The World Without Us, it's fun, informative and eye-opening!

Gentle Reader said...

iliana--haven't started the Ann Patchett yet. That's annoying and crazy that the ticket price to see Ann Patchett was more than the book! And yet, how great that a writer can even charge for tickets :)

jenclair--somehow I didn't read Of Human Bondage in college or any other time, and I'm wondering how I missed it. Definitely feels like a classic so far! I think I'll start describing things as "massive, great big" too, I like it!

stefanie--can't wait to hear what you think of Razor's Edge!

matt--glad you're finding The World Without Us eye-opening! Looking forward to hearing what you think of Of Human Bondage--hope it turns out to be a good airplane read for you :)