What I’m Reading

The problem with library books is that you have to read them within three weeks or pay fines. I’m paying fines on two books because I just couldn’t finish them in time.

I read P.D. James’ A Time to Be In Earnest: A Fragment of Autobiography recently. I really enjoyed it. I sought out this autobiography after wondering what P.D. James thought about having her book, Children of Men, made into a movie which hardly resembled the novel at all. Unfortunately, P.D. James has no real Internet presence (no blog for her!) and so I turned to her other writings. (I’m guessing now that she hates hates hate when they did to her novel.)

I’ve never read a P.D. James murder mystery, but after reading her autobiography, I look forward to reading her body of work, starting from the beginning.

Meanwhile, here are some quotes from the autobiography which struck me:

I began writing Cover Her Face when I was in my mid-thirties. It was a late beginning for someone who knew from early childhood that she wanted to be a novelist and, looking back, I can’t help regretting what I now see as some wasted years. In the war there was always the uncertainty of survival and one needed more determination and dedication than I possessed to embark on an 80,000-word work when the bombs were falling and lack of paper made it difficult for anyone new to get published. There is also in my nature that streak of indolence which made it more agreeable to contemplate the first book than actually to begin writing it. It was easier, too, to see the war years as a preparation for future endeavor rather than an appropriate time to begin. I can remember the moment, but not the date, when I finally realized that there would never be a convenient time to write my first book and that, unless I did make a start, I would eventually be saying to my grandchildren that what I had wanted to be was a novelist. Even to think of speaking these words was a realization of potential failure.

And this:

There is no point in regretting any part of the past. The past can’t now be altered, the future has yet to be lived, and consciously to experience every moment of the present is the only way to gain at least the illusion of immortality.

I also read a biography called Anne Morrow Lindbergh: First Lady of the Air. I knew nothing about Anne Morrow Lindbergh other than the fact that she wrote the classic, Gift from the Sea (which I read immediately after finishing the biography.) What an interesting life she led–she and her husband, Charles, flew many exploratory routes in the early days of aviation–back in the day when they flew by sight, not by instruments. And then, of course, there is the tragedy of the kidnapping of their firstborn son when he was less than two years old. (The baby was murdered.) Back in their day, Anne and Charles were hounded by the press, much like celebrities of today. So much has changed in the world, yet so much has stayed the same.

Now, I’m finished with the library books, ready to start reading something new. Fiction, I think. I have literally hundreds of books on my shelves waiting to be read . . . a glut of reading material, an overabundance, too many choices.

What are you reading?

26 thoughts on “What I’m Reading

  1. Our library lets you keep the books for 28 days and then you can renew them once. Can’t you renew your library books?

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  2. LOL! I have a horrible habit of ordering the books I want from Powell’s – I guess I just can’t handle the pressure of a due date! And then again I am always half way through at least a dozen books at one time!

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  3. Oh, the current book I am draggin around is “Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web” and “1491” is sitting on the bedstand –

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  4. I recently read “The Family that couldn’t sleep” about prion diseases (specifically fatal familial insomnia) it was fascinating. Now I’m struggling with “The Great Influenza” which is much too wordy. My bookclub just read “The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B.” By Sandra Gulland which was fabulous–the sequel is waiting for me at the library. Next we’re supposed to read “The Thirteenth Tale” By Diana Setterfield, but the library’s copies all have waiting lists …

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  5. I quit getting library books for that very reason. Now I get my books from a used book store. Much cheaper than paying fines. lol.

    Currently reading Light From Heaven by Jan Karon. It’s the last of the Mitford series.

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  6. Just read The Sparrow, The Hiding Place and Pride and Prejudice and earlier than that was Ender’s Game. I recommend them all! I’m starting Jane Eyre and Broken For You next…

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  7. As we live 30 minutes from our library, online renewal is a lifesaver! Does your library have this?
    We cannot renew books that have reserves pending, but most of the time those aren’t the books I’m taking out.
    Our library also has a special program for teachers. They can keep books for TWO months instead of one. I inquired about home schoolers and they said “home schoolers aren’t real teachers so do not qualify.” OUCH!

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  8. I have the same problem with library books, and they always let me renew online, too, so I usually try that (unless someone else is requesting it.) Right now I have a stack of books to read, and usually love fiction, but right now I am reading Lisa Bevere’s Fight Like A Girl.

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  9. I love that last quote, the one about immortality.

    I can renew stuff online, it rocks. I recently listened to my first audio book, it took me about 3 weeks because I only listened to it in the car, when I was alone, so that was mostly during my commute to and from work. I listened to “My Sister’s Keeper”. I liked the audio book thing for commuting so I have another one waiting for me to pick up at the library.

    Right now I am reading:
    The Economist magazine, every issues, cover to cover for school
    Mudslingers by Kerwin Swint – this one is about political campaigns and was written by my professor
    Politics & Culture in the Developing World – text for class
    Out of Order – text for class, it is about news media and how it effects our society
    You Decide! – this is text for class, it is about controversial global issues
    Media, Politics and Government – text for class, all about how mass media works with politics

    For fun I am reading “There is no me without you” by Melissa Fay Greene. It’s about an African women trying to rescue the AIDS orphans in Ethiopia.

    Heavy stuff!

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  10. “Reading Lolita in Tehran”
    Crazy! I had just posted on book addiction and then switched over to your page!
    I can also attest to the handiness of online library book renewal.
    I love living in a suburb of Denver…our library network is so large there’s hardly anything I can’t get.

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  11. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. Mmm… Vonnegut.

    Our library has online renewal. On the other hand they charge 50 cents for every hold request. I’d had the bright idea to put a bunch on hold so that when I went with the baby to pick them up I wouldn’t have to worry about her being quiet long enough. Sigh.

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  12. Anna Karenina (on line book group- Reading the Calssics)

    The Children of Men (thank you very much)

    Dreams from My Father-Barack Obama (a rather strange Christmas gift from my husband????)

    Bittersweet-Nevada Barr

    ~K!

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  13. I can’t seem to get library books returned on time either. And I’m a librarian!

    I just finished “What is the What” by Dave Eggers. This is an “autobiographical novel” about one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. I enjoyed the chance to learn some more about this in a story format. I have a hard time keeping track of all the tragedy that occurs on the African continent and keeping the facts and people straight, so the story format helped.

    I just picked up some much lighter reading and am half way through “Shapeshifter” by Tony Hillerman. I grew up in the Southwest and have spent time in the 4 Corners region, so this is a little slice of home (minus the crime and murders of course).

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  14. I have the set of all of Anne Morrow Lindburg’s letters, journals & writings – good stuff. The youngest of the Lindgurg children, Reeve, wrote a wonderful family memmor, “Under A Wing”. I like her writing style and it’s facinating to read what it was like growing up in that time, and to be a part of that family. I highly reccommend it. Right now I’m reading “Franklin and Winston” by Jon Meacham. (chronicles the friendship of Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill).

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  15. My Antonia by Willa Cather. Liking it so much I’ve checked out Death Comes for the Archbishop to read next. Also am reading The Fat Resistance Diet by Leo Galland, M.D. Recommends eating to reduce inflammation in the body, which also reduces weight! Recipes look fabulous. Am also following a plan to read through the Bible in 90 days. Well, it’s going to take a bit longer than that for me, but still, it’s fast enough to be giving a bird’s eye view perspective. Today I read the lovely story of Ruth, and how her son was the grandfather of King David!

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  16. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by Willa Cather. I think Death Comes for the Archbishop is my favorite.

    Can you share a link to that 90 day Bible plan? I did a year one last year but I think a 90 day one would be interesting to try.

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  17. Right now I’m reading Sandra Brown’s Ricochet. Just started it last night and it seems like her other works, fast paced.

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  18. Thank you for sharing that first PD James quote. I love that she didn’t start her first novel until her mid 30’s even though she always wanted to be a writer. Maybe there’s hope for me after all!

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