Hello one and all! If anyone is still reading, that is. I hate being so absent lately. I can't say that I'm monumentally busier than usual, but I have been online less in general. I get up in the mornings around 6:15, play with Daisy, take her out to walk, feed her, walk her some more, and maybe lounge on the couch and watch the news. Then it's time to get dressed and out of the house by 8:00 or 8:15, which puts me at work around 9:00ish. I teach at 9:30 and 12:30, so that eats up my day until 1:55. Then the trip home, more playing with Daisy, and my day is shot. She generally goes to sleep on the couch around 9:00, and then I get to crate her, shower, talk to B for a few minutes if he's out of town, read for a few minutes if I'm gonna, and then I pass out watching TV.
I am sneaking in some reading, though.
Today was gorgeous, so I staked Miss Daisy out in the yard with a chew stick while I sat on the porch and read After Dark, by Haruki Murakami. It feels like I haven't picked up a novel in ages. Between my slow reading in general and my non-fiction/environmental jag, I guess it sort is the first novel I've read in a while!
This is only my second Murakami offering, after Norwegian Wood, but so far it certainly lives up to my expectations. His writing is simple, straightforward, readable. I do love that there's a surreal glaze over everything. It doesn't strike me as magical realism, but there are some funky, otherworldly elements. In After Dark for instance, there is a lot of play with images. The book follows the characters through one late night. Each chapter is a different time in the night. One particular character is sleeping peacefully when her TV comes on and "we"--the reader and the narrator--see a man in a suit with a translucent mask on watching her sleep through the TV screen. Later we realize that she is now in the TV with the man while an empty bed occupies her room.
I'm not sure what the point of the surrealism is just yet--or if there's a purpose at all--but it certainly is striking. Murakami's knack for including affecting detail without overdoing it or making the writing tedious is his greatest strength. It's all very movie-like in my head. Love it!
In other reading endeavors, I decided it's been far too long since I bought a book, so I went to Books-a-Million during my downtime between classes today. I picked up the audio version of Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, by Mary Roach. I know a lot of people have said they didn't particularly like this book...especially in comparison to Stiff, but so far I'm enjoying it. I love Roach's humor, and if nothing else, I'm sure I'll find that part of the book satisfying.
I also picked up a copy of Green, Greener, Greenest, by Lori Bongiorno. I've been lusting after it for a while, and I intend to include it in the goals I set for the first leg of the EcoJustice Challenge. I was particularly interested in Bongiorno's introduction. She mentions that her interest in environmental issues is rooted in health. Her husband died after a fight with melanoma, and she began to reevaluate what she was feeding her kids, slathering on their bodies, etc. Green, Greener, Greenest tackles food, cleaning, clothing, and other facets of everyday life and shows a continuum of green things a reader can do dependent upon their level of interest, finances, and commitment to the particular area in question. For instance, I'm really interested in the food part of going green. She writes about how foods are certified organic, gives the three levels that one might go to in order to be green, greener, or greenest. She emphasizes making small changes in everyday life, thus the options and ideas for picking and choosing what works in one's everyday life.
All in all, my reading is awesome this week in comparison to what it's been lately. Hopefully I can keep the momentum going. This pretty weather certainly helps. Daisy will drag me outside as MANY TIMES AS SHE CAN every afternoon, so if we can both lounge, everybody wins.