Monday, April 11, 2011

The Reader Shuffle

After a very recent move, I find myself very low on books and OK with that. I deal with reading on a daily basis. Examples, anyone?

My class is discussing poetry today, and we've covered:
  • "The Red Wheelbarrow" by William Carlos Williams
  • "In a Station of the Metro" by Ezra Pound
  • "my old man" by Charles Bukowski
  • "Barbie Doll" by Marge Piercy
  • "Dulce Et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen
  • "Jilted" and "Mad Girl's Love Song" by Sylvia Plath
The class was really onboard with "Barbie Doll" and "my old man." They seemed to have their doubts about some of the others, but I think I won them over in discussion. Now they're working on a PowerPoint over specific poems, the author's background, and some literary terms.

In other book-related life stuff, I've always wanted a literary tattoo. Ever since I discovered Contrariwise, it's been a constant search for just the right thing. Low and behold, I think it was right in front of me all the time. In Great Expectations, Estella says, "...suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but -- I hope -- into a better shape."

I would shorten it down a bit, but you get the gist. It's a lesson and the bestest literary tattoo I can imagine for me personally.
I have exactly two boxes of books at my disposal right now. After the move, much is in storage and scattered around, and I'm oddly OK with that. I've long said that I'm a bookish glutton, so if I have tons of books at my disposal, it becomes even harder than usual to choose just one to read at any given time. Limits are good. Boundaries are good. I have them in my reading right now, and additional books will be introduced slowly and in limited supply.

Even though I read to some extent every day and have dealings with the written word for a living, I haven't been reading. I miss it to the bottom of my little teensy toes. Here's praying the urge and peace of mind come back soon.

Now, instead of assuring me that my reading mojo will return, just tell me what you're reading. I want to live vicariously! :)


  1. I love the quote you shared from Great Expectations. I just started Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin. It's lovely. Yesterday I finished Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones. It was also excellent. Have a great week!

  2. I'm reading Finding George Orwell in Burma. It's non-fiction. I'm also pretending like I'm reading War and Peace and John Adams for two readalongs.

  3. As you know, like you, I have always loved that quote. It has a different special meaning for me of course, it reminds me of you more than it does Estella and our time with our 'zine. And it is absolutely perfect for you.

    I hope things settle down and get right for you soon. You either need something epic (The Name of the Wind by Rothfuss is great to get lost in), something short (Faery Tale by Signe Pike was a quick read for me and will remind you there is magic in the world), a comfort reread (there is always Great Expectations!) or something graphic in nature (I'm telling you, get the Bone series!)

    Love you and remember, Imma here iffin yer needin' me!

  4. It sounds like your class is going well. I would bet that sooner or later your mojo will come back. I'm reading a fun YA novel-Ranger's Apprentice #9, as well as Hurston's Their Eyes were Watching God. Both are excellent.

    I love literary tattoos. I think I am getting my first one this summer for my birthday. It is a quote from The Odyssey:

    "Muse-start from where you will, sing for our time too."

    I just love that line and it encompasses so much about me.

  5. I just moved for the second time in 5 months. There are only a handful of books that I own in our apartment, the rest ended up in storage. It really doesn't seem to matter, I find plenty at the library, and it's easier to get things read since my at-home selection is so limited. Right now I'm reading Faefever by Karen Marie Moning.

  6. Thanks, Natasha! It's my fave quote from the book. I haven't heard of Please Look After Mom. Will have to check it out! :) Silver Sparrow, on the other hand, sounds familiar. I wonder if I have a copy around here somewhere!

    LOL, Jill! I'm not even pretending to read War and Peace anymore! Maybe one day. Finding George Orwell in Burma is a great title!

    Heatheroo, thank you! It reminds me of the 'zine every time I read it as well. I always want to get back to it, but it seems life has decided to eat my face. Ugg. I hope things settle down a bit, too. Took your advice about a re-read of Great Expectations. I stopped on the way home last night and picked up a beautiful copy since I have no idea where I've stashed the last one I bought!!! Literary chicken soup, I call it.

    Isn't it, Christina!? I loved it. I want words to hug me.

    Allie, the class is going great! I'm excited to see the presentations they put together in class tomorrow. And I LOVE your idea for a lit tattoo!! What fun!

    Lisa, it is GOOD to have bookish boundaries, eh?? I hope that's the last move for you for a while. Sounds a bit miserable!

  7. My son has one on his chest, stay what you are. His others are all pictures, not words.

    As for reading, I just saw this in Real Simple:

    My idea of perfect bedtime reading is Barbara Pym's Some Tame Gazelle, a comic novel about two sisters in an English village in the 1930s. For the ideal Pym experience, you should be wearing flannel pj's and have a cup of tea.
    Maureen Corrigan
    Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading

    I LOVE BP. And I love my flannel PJs. :<) It's hard to recommend books to people. I love so many writers. But for soothing, calming, inspirational - Gladys Taber always works for me.

  8. I'm reading Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules, short stories compiled by David Sedaris. Finished Joyce Carol Oates' The Girl With the Blackened Eye. Knocked my socks off, so I googled more on Oates, found your blog, and here I am, hooked on Estella's Revenge! Looking forward to reading more from you and loading up my kindle

  9. I've been toying with a literary tatt too (haha get it?) but deciding what to pick is driving me crazy.

  10. Are you really truly going to get a literary tattoo? You are braver than I am. :p I love the tattoos at Contrariwise, and have often thought if I were going to get a tattoo (which I never ever would, I'm petrified of needles and irrevocable decisions), I'd get words. I've even picked out what I'd get, though mine lends itself slightly easier to shortening to reasonable tattoo length. :D

  11. I'm in the midst of three books right now just because I want to read everything right now. I think I have a few too many choices as well :) Good luck with everything that goes along after a move and hopefully life will settle down for you soon!

  12. We just moved as well. Boxes and bags of books everywhere, and many of them will have to go. I just finished reading An Ornithologists Guide to Life by Ann Hood, and I loved it. It was a book that I had forgotten I owned, and I unearthed it in the process of packing.

  13. That's a perfect tattoo for you! I remember seeing some GE tattoos in a recent book on lit tattoos, but I don't think that quote was among them.

    Well I just finished 'Fury of the Phoenix' by Cindy Pon which was a swoon making sequel and now I'm reading 'I Was a Cat' which I think it probably best read in small bites. Good luck getting your mojo back.

  14. Nan, I've never read Pym or Taber! Thanks for the recommendation.

    Jennifer, I'm thrilled that you stopped by! Definitely try Beasts by Joyce Carol Oates. She's just stunning!

    Trisha, it's a tough choice, but this quote, for me, continually floats to the top and makes a great statement about life. And she's my literary namesake. I might just have "Estella" tatted on my foot or something. lol

    Jenny, I would totally do it. I'm not scared of needs in general. If one were coming at my eye or something, I might be more apprehensive. I've had lots of piercings too, so that took away some of the fear.

    Thanks, Samantha!! I'm truly a one book girl. I feel too slow and stilted in my reading if I have more going than that.

    Bibiliophiliac, what a fortuitous find! I love unearthing a book I'd forgotten about and finding it a gem. :)

    Jodie, I have something of Cindy Pon's around here. Might have to dig it up. :)


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