Posted by: Tricia | Sunday, August 5, 2007

Passing the time

This is a dark, rainy, chilly, dreary Sunday morning. I slept in until 10:00, and I was shocked when I rolled over to look at the clock! I need to do some more housecleaning today, and I absolutely, positively have to go to the grocery store to buy diapers. There’s not a single unused diaper in this house. Whoopsie!

These weekends I have to myself are a lesson for me. A lesson in being alone, and figuring out how to be content with that. I love socializing, I love hanging out with others. I don’t know what to do with myself when I’m all alone, and the loneliness can overwhelm me. I’m working on it, though.

Last night it got the better of me, though, and around 9:30 I took off to the local Borders bookstore. I decided to pick up a copy of A Thousand Splendid Suns on the recommendation of Jimmy, as well as Happily Ever After: Walking with Peace and Courage Through a Year of Divorce by Kristin Armstrong, Lance Armstrong’s ex-wife. I remember seeing her on some morning talk show plugging her book a while back, and I was very pleased to come across it last night.

I mentioned a while back that I was planning on reading The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini’s first novel. Eric had said I was just gonna love it, and he was right. It was a wonderful book, one that I had a hard time putting down, much to the chagrin of the IB at times. I got through it in just a couple of days, and now I’m so eager to read Mr. Hosseini’s sophomore effort, ATSS.


At the same time I checked out The Kite Runner from the library, I also checked out Ernest Hemingway’s first novel, The Sun Also Rises. It was first published in 1926. And frankly, this one I can put down. In the past week, maybe a little more, I’ve only gotten through about half of it. I’m trying to trudge through it, hoping it’ll wrap up in grand fashion. But good grief…even his characters were alcoholics! That’s all they do, is drink! And funny…they never seem to actually get drunk.

The reason I decided to delve into the world of this renowned American author is because I get tired of reading these mass-produced novels by authors who crank out three, four, or five a year. There’s no meat to them, they rarely leave me thinking after I turn that last page, and they’re just overall quite forgettable. These books to me are just a way to pass the time, but there’s really nothing much gained.

So I’m making an effort to familiarize myself with these authors that over the years made a name for themselves for the quality of books they wrote, rather than the quantity. I know, I know…I had the chance to do this back in high school, right? But I must admit, there are only two books that I can recall actually reading all the way through back in the those days. And those are To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Diary of a Young Girl. TKAM I actually read twice in high school…in honors freshman English, and again the next year in accelerated sophomore English. But other than that, I found all the other books I was assigned quite dull. The Great Gatsby? I only got about 50 pages through it. Hawthorne? Ack. Steinbeck? Nope. I’m hoping that now that I’m quite a bit older, I can find a new appreciation for these pieces of literature. I guess that’s a start…now I just need to learn how to appreciate Shakespeare along with the rest of the cultured universe.

OK…I really need to get crackin’. Must clean, must shop. My babies are coming home tonight!

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Responses

  1. uh…yea, I hear you on weekend lonliness. I had to threaten to harm myself last night to get a friend to do something with me

  2. Well, I’m glad you weren’t driven to do such a thing! And I hope you had fun!

  3. I greatly admire Kristin Armstrong. I may have mentioned this already, but she is a regular contributor to Runner’s World (which my wife subscribes to) and her columns are routinely enjoyable and inspirational.

    Looking forward to your review of A Thousand Splendid Suns.

    You might want to give old Ernest a second chance, and try reading him from a writer’s perspective (since, as a blogger, that’s the territory you’ve staked out, whether you want to admit it or not). Ignore the characters, and pay close attention to how he uses words, and phrasing. Look for the art even if you don’t like the story. I can’t guarantee that you’ll still find him worthwhile, but maybe you just need a different point of view.

    Personally, though, I really recommend going out and buying and reading everything ever written by Connie Willis and Anne Lamott. But, that’s just me.

  4. I’ll definitely heed your advice. My original idea was to read Ernest’s novels in chronological order of publication, so I’m gonna keep at him even if TSAR doesn’t do much for me. I have caught some great dry wit thus far, though.

    Thanks for the recommendations as well! I’m always on the prowl for good reads.

    Of course, all bets are off once the new TV season begins…my bookreading seems to be a summer trend. That frustrates me. I enjoy it so.

    It’s weird to think of myself as a writer. Perhaps I am, albeit a raw, rough-around-the-edges type. The word ‘amateur’ comes to mind, for lack of a word that means an amateur amateur. It brings up some intriguing thought patterns, though!


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