Thursday, July 1, 2010

On Reading

For my entire family, vacation is about reading. Sometimes I think that the primary purpose of our vacation time is to devour books. Even as I type this, I see two of my own deeply engrossed in books. We all go to the library prior to our departure to pick up stacks of "something to read", and the first place we visit in a rented house is the bookshelf.

I was given a Barnes & Noble gift card a few weeks ago; I saved it to buy beach reading material. I have a stack - those books, plus several from the Powhatan library. I am a happy girl.

And here are my first beach reviews:

In the Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White. I had high hopes for this book; it was the first one I cracked open. I'd read a review and the jacket blurb looked enticing. The story was potent - a white collar criminal sentenced for his federal offense at Carville, Louisiana - side by side with leprosy patients who made their home at Carville. The author detailed the humbling impact of the circumstances of his confinement and the resulting life changes. Great potential - but disappointingly written. I finished it, and I'm glad I read it, but I was disappointed.

Especially so after just a few pages of book choice #2: The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert. Yes, I've read Eat, Pray, Love. Loved it. Haven't read her new book yet. Haven't seen the movie. But just one taste of this literary morsel and my day was redeemed:
"So these are Eustace Conway's first memories: the cosmic scope of the woods; the stipple of sunlight slanting through a verdant natural awning; the elightening voice of the father; the loveliness of the words locust, birch, and tulip poplar; the new intellectual pleasure of study enhanced by the distinct physical sensation of his wobbly toddler's head tilting so far back that he might have toppled over from the effort of looking up so hard at so many trees for such a long time."
Ahhhh....good writing literally tastes good as you take it in.

I think so, anyway.

So I'm on book #2, and it's still raining, and we're listening to each others' playlists on iTunes and reading the worst ever break-up letters on the internet, playing hours of Bananagrams and Connect Four.

And reading. We're reading. And it's good.

2 comments: said...

BANANA GRAMS............ I see you guys "playing it" all the time, I am curious as to what version you play? I am having trouble finding the "challenge" in it , the way we play so I am curious

Anonymous said...

Hope you love(d) _The Last American Man_ as much as I. (I HATED _Eat, Pray, Love_, btw...couldn't even bear to finish it. I am so glad that I read the bio of E.C., first, or I never would've given Gilbert a try!) Put Aimee Bender's _The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake_ on your list; I thought it was wonderful, and I'm ridiculously picky. BRANDEE