June 24, 2006

First Love, Rediscovered.

I've loved books for as long as I can remember. My mother's most effective way of grounding me was to take away whatever book I was reading at the time (this usually came about as I was at the last chapter, too!). I often traded sleep for "just one more chapter."

Even as a law student, I found time to read, and was more likely to be found at the local coffee shop reading a novel, than in the library with Torts (can you blame me?). Then a little over a year ago, I discovered knitting. I had been crocheting regularly for several years long before I (re)learned how to knit, but crocheting never detracted from my reading -- I still managed to read several books a month. Knitting however, changed my life. I became obsessive, and had to knit during every spare moment I had, and even started this blog because of it. I've often bemoaned here and and to my knit club crew about the lack of time (and even will) to read since I've picked up those sticks.

Today, for the first time in a long time, pj-clad and coffee in hand, I spent an afternoon reading, rediscovering its joys. I started The Cave over a year ago, but got distracted, and never got back to it. It's one of those books that you need a chunk of time to get into -- not a pop-lit-ten-minutes-here-and-there kind of read. This novel is so melodically constructed that it's hard not to get lost in it purely on language alone -- and this a translation from the original Portuguese. I have yet to read Saramago's other critically acclaimed works, and know little about him except for his Marxist tendencies, but based on Heather's recent post, Blindess will be added to my reading queue. In The Cave, a widowed village potter is challenged when the Center, an entertainment/mall/apartment congolomerate, tells him his pottery is outdated and unprofitable, and will not be filling any more orders with him. He proposes to produce ceramic dolls instead, in the hopes that these will appeal to the modern consumer, and provide him with a living. In the meantime, his son-in-law, who works at the Center, awaits patiently for a promotion, so that his family can move there. A stray dog, the potter's daughter and a neighboring widow add to this tale that takes an unanticipated philosophical twist that in hindsight is of course the only way for the story to be told. It's been a long time since I've read a novel, let alone one that was as thoroughly satisfying as this one.

Summer reading lists abound now, and I join in the game. I've stolen a couple from Seth for my own list:

The Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman Trilogy, Pamela Aidan
Mr. Potter, Jamaica Kincaid
Everyman, Philip Roth
Send Me, Patrick Ryan
I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith

The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs, Madeleine Albright
Friday Night Lights, H.G. Bissinger
A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson
The Piano Shop on the Left Bank: Discovering a Forgotten Passion in a Paris Atelier, Thad Carhart
Living to Tell the Tale, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime from the Sedition Act in 1798 to the War on Terror, Geoffrey R. Stone
Beyond Band of Brothers, Dick Winters

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits and a Very Interesting Boy, Jeanne Birdsall
Inkheart, Cornelia Funke
Eldest, Christopher Paolini

Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter, Stepha Pearl Mcphee

Yes, probably a bit ambitious, but I've heard it's good to have ambition, and I've turned off my cable for the summer months, so that should help!

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