So, first things first. The errant book has been located. Why am I so neurotic about books and reading? I must seem quite peculiar to people who a) don't know me and my reading habits (and even then I sometimes tone them down unless I am with good friends) and b) people who don't normally read. And that would be--'read a lot'.
This is the story behind the missing (and now found) book. I have been dabbling in comics for the last week or so. I'll share my newest addiction more next week since there is enough to write about that would take a whole blog post. Now, you know me, why read just one book when I can make a little project out of my reading. Or at least pair a current read in some way. So, I have been reading a few comic book recommendations and then this put me in mind of the Michael Chabon Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. I read it when it first came out in paperback and loved it. I knew I owned it and wouldn't likely have gotten rid of it. What better pairing than reading a comic book series and a novel about comic book artists?
Once I get something in mind I will not let go of it until I have the much-desired book in hand. I swear I knew where it was and probably for years it was in the place on the shelf where I pictured it. But it wasn't there now. It was almost literally in plain sight--and I tore every out of the way place I could think of looking for it, so very sure that it could not be in the place where I finally found it. Never trust those instincts apparently. After tearing apart rows of books one night, then doing it again a second night but then guiltily replacing the books neatly again, I thought I would give a cursory glance to a pile of books . . . and guess where it was. Practically at the top of the third pile of books I started sifting through, there it was. The planets have once again realigned themselves in perfect order, I have the book in hand and I have started rereading it. And that book is going to remain in my reading pile until I finish it. Actually, though, so far it is just as good as I remember it being, and I am finding that I recall very little of the story from that first read so long ago.
Such drama in my house this week.
The other thing about my reading habits that I think even bookish people would think is peculiar . . . I swear it is not me. I get to work and pull my things out of my bookbag and all of a sudden there are twice as many books to unpack as I intended to put in to read over the course of the day. I am sure some of them are being wiseacres and just jumping into that bag secretly hoping I will spend my lunch break or gym time with them. Naughty (but understandable) books. But it must stop. My work out ends when I walk out of the gym. It is not meant to continue as part of my walk home lugging a bag overflowing with books. I mean I know I have the habit of having multiple books underway at once, but that doesn't mean they can all be read at the same time.
So now, if one book is chunky or a hardcover, the other book I choose to take along must be a wee little thing. Paperback, maybe mass market. A novella perhaps. Slim, slender, slip of a thing. If I just spent most of a reading day with only two books and then rotated them about every few days, I am sure I would accomplish so much more. So I'm going to be watching those books and no stowaways from now on. It's not me putting them in there, of course. No, no, no. Okay, maybe I will allow just one extra.
How have I gotten so obsessive about books, I ask you? Do you think it is possible to live too much inside the pages of a book? No, me neither!
Now that I have shared my recent bad habits, do I dare begin talking about the books I am reading? (Or plan on reading this weekend?). There is a bit of a book shuffle going on on my sidebar and on my nightstand to reflect what I am actually reading at the moment, or need to be reading. Along with my short story reading this weekend, I am hoping to finish Katharine McMahon's The Alchemist's Daughter, which is another reread for me. I have been enjoying her work so much that I want to read all her books. Maybe not all of them this year but I will keep going until I get tired and am ready to switch to another author. It is not unusual for me to read several books by one author in the same year, but I seem to want to do more and more of that lately.
And I also hope to make some very steady progress on Anne Enright's The Green Road. I'm having mixed feelings about it. I started out feeling really excited about it, but as she shifts narrators from chapter to chapter, I find I like some of the chapters (almost like short stories they seem to be) are more appealing than others. So I tend to speed up or slow down depending on how much I like the voice of a particular narrator. I will be reading another comic anthology, too.
And then I have been looking for a good story with a strong bit of romance in it. I tried one book this past week and while it started out as a very engaging story, I have gone all tepid with it. I have read and enjoyed the author's work very much, but this is a first novel and while I like the parallel storylines and the time slip aspect of it, I think I have gone sour on the romance aspect curiously. It feels maybe a tad too chick-littish--a guy/ a relationship that is just way too good to be true and so I have quietly slid it back into its original pile (!) and am now once again in search of something else that will be romantic, but also realistic and satisfying. I always think that with romance I want a tidy, happy ending, but maybe I am just too curmudgeonly these days. Now, I think, maybe an untidy ending is better and bittersweet is not necessarily a bad thing. I'm not sure.
Sometimes you just know a good story when you see it, and for me, that one was not quite it. I have pulled out Penelope Lively, and Victoria Routledge and Caro Fraser (not exactly romance to be honest, but appeals anyway) and Jonathan Harvey to start with. Will do a little 'dipping' and see if one of these works better. Technically Katharine McMahon would be a perfect romance sort of read, but I am in search of a new story. And as we are nearing the halfway mark of the year (sheesh, can you believe it?) I need to revisit that list of hopeful reads for 2016 and see how I feel about them. Maybe some new book from that list would fit the bill.
Whatever else I do this weekend, Kavalier and Clay will be getting some serious attention, too. What's 'your Kavalier & Clay' this weekend? (That being your own personal book obsession!).