“I pledge to read more, from real books.” This is the second pledge of my 12-part monthly series for 2013. The aim here is to get through some of the books I’ve had stacked along the walls of my room for years, while giving my eyes a break from the computer screen.
First off, I’d like to point out that February flew by. Twenty eight days is not nearly enough to call a month. I guess this goes to show how much of a difference two days can make. We had some gorgeous sunshine in Vancouver this February, but generally rain. I didn’t mind having rainy days though, it let me get more reading done.
The first book I started this month took me back to London in 1950 as a young aspiring chemist named Flavia de Luce. This eleven year old was easy to connect with because she reminded me very much of myself. Curious about the neighbours, always has one ear tuned-in to the adults conversing in the next room, and plays her own partner in crime. When Flavia discovered a dead body in the backyard, she was determined to solve the mystery of the man in the cucumber patch before anyone else. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, written by Alan Bradley, was a fun read with clever twists in each chapter.
There is something unique about reading ink on paper as apposed to text on a screen. The physical bulk of it. I almost feel like I can trust the words more when they’re printed on pages and bound together. I like being able to underline and highlight, turn and fold pages, and carry this virtual place around with me in my purse. The stories are more real to me when they’re in a book. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading stuff on the internet (almost too much, hence the need for this pledge), but there’s something special about books that’s for sure. I love the smell of them. The old and musty ones that you find in a used bookstore or the public library, and the freshly published ones that you unwrap at the beginning of semester or pull off the shelves at Chapters. Books are like little temporary time traveling machines that smell good.
It’s the summer of 1922 in New York City. “I love New York on summer afternoons when everyone’s away. There’s something very sensuous about it – overripe, as if all sorts of funny fruits were going to fall into your hands.” Everybody who is anybody is seen at the glittering parties held at Gatsby’s mansion. The mysterious Jay Gatsby is the main character in the second book I read this month, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. “He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced–or seemed to face–the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favour. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself.” I loved this book for so many reasons and I recommend reading it. You’ve got a few months before the movie comes out, do it! You’ll thank me afterwards.
It’s been a long time since I’ve leisurely read. Being forced to read a certain number of pages from specific books over the past years never gave me the urge to pick up a book in my spare time, but I feel differently now. With no deadlines and no comparative essays, just reading a chapter here and there or until I fall asleep at night, I think I like it. There are so many books out there, my wish-list is endless and the stack on my nightstand is still huge. I’m excited though, this means more time travelling! What are your favourite books? Any that kept you so hooked you couldn’t put them down?
-I’ve been enjoying fiction fridays on Rachel Ball’s blog Elephantine. She’s getting ready to write her first novel, and posts short stories (only a paragraph or two long) every second Friday . Her writing is so great, I always wish the stories were longer.
–Goodreads. Any bookworms out there will love this website.
Why am I doing a monthly pledge for 2013? Read about it here.