Tuesday, October 19, 2010

checking in

It's mid October and midterm so I thought I'd check in quickly. Since school started eight weeks ago, I have finished reading exactly one book—Yarn by Kyoko Mori. The author, who is a poet, novelist, and writing professor, analogizes the fabric of her life with knitting. She writes about being a foreigner in small-town Wisconsin, struggles in her marriage and its eventual dissolution, her mother who committed suicide when the author was a teenager, her estrangement from her family (her abusive father, her father's mistress who became her stepmother, and her brother who was closer to their stepmother than their birth mother), and the friendships she values. She learns to knit and to spin and weave, and she raises angora rabbits for their fur, which she cards and spins. The analogies are lovely, which matters since the emotion feels heavy. The palpable weight of sadness hangs on this woman like a wet blanket. But there's a redemptive quality in the life she makes for herself. Ultimately I enjoyed the book well enough but can't offer a strong endorsement.

Also since school started, I have tried to pack my SRS in the hope of squeezing in some pleasure reading. One of the biggest benefits of the e-reader is that its slim size and light weight make it very portable, which makes a difference to the heavy load of my backpack. You should see how many huge textbooks I carry on a daily basis! I have need for a chiropractic adjustment. The other plus for me is that I can load a bunch of books onto the device so I have choices. I'd like to finish Anthropology of an American Girl, which I started on the flight to London in May. Alas, the downside of an e-reader is battery life. My device is dead at the moment, and I rarely remember to charge it. That said, I do have a goal to finish up this loose end before the end of the year. Fingers crossed.

I'm currently reading Jonathan Franzen's Freedom. One morning a few weeks ago, I decided to treat myself to some pleasure reading before I started my homework. Mistake! I couldn't stop reading. The first fifty pages of Freedom were fantastic. The novel is set in St. Paul, and the places and stereotypes are very real. Sometimes I think if John and I were 10 years older, we would have been the main characters. I haven't touched the book since that day, except to move it from my reading corner in the den to my bedside table. And, I fear that with my current workload I may not have an opportunity to pick it up until finals are over. In December. And, at that point, I'll be debating whether to shlep it on a flight or take my SRS. It's a perpetual cycle.

I am listening to audiobooks on my drive to school, which makes the endeavor a little less stressful. At the moment, I have in rotation Harlan Coben's Long Lost, which takes sports agent/sleuth Myron Bolitar to Paris. Yay, transporting! The book is read by Steven Weber, who is spot-on as an "affable, horny fool."  I now imagine that Myron Bolitar looks like Steven Weber instead of the author.

In the meantime, I have read half of a textbook on environmentally responsible interior design, one-quarter of a textile textbook, and an entire AUTOCAD manual. So, it's not like I haven't been reading...

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