Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Book Lover

Anyone who knows me knows I am an avid reader and hopeless book collector. I say “hopeless,” because I will always have more books than I ever have time to read. Most of them are at least confined to one room so it at least looks somewhat manageable (okay, so some of them are hidden in a trunk in the closet!).

I think I’ve already read at least 45 books this year, my goal always being 52 – one for every week of the year (though it typically takes me more than a week to read most books).

Right now there’s a stack of about a half a dozen library books on the top of my dresser. That should pretty much take me through to the end of the year. All are memoirs – mostly by men, but at least one by a woman. Incidentally, as someone who hopes to write a memoir someday, I very much enjoy reading others’ books (for inspiration and ideas).

My husband is also an avid reader, but doesn’t have as much spare time as I do, so he reads a lot less. However, he will often read for longer periods of time than I will. As much as I know reading is a valued and respected past time, I feel guilty if I spend much time doing it at home when so many other things need doing. It’s only when I’m not feeling well that I tend to spend longer than maybe 15 minutes reading. Of course an exception was made when reading each of the Harry Potter books, because those were certainly hard to put down! However, unlike many of JK Rowling’s readers, I didn’t want to devour any of the books all in one sitting. Like a fine wine or chocolate, I think books are meant to be savored and carefully digested, so I prefer to read little by little. I think it also helps me remember what I read the day before.

Sometimes I will even read more than one book at a time – perhaps an informational book of some kind and a novel or memoir on the side. My uncle said he does this too, so I guess I’m not the only one.

My husband mostly reads either fantasy/science fiction or the classics, and is currently reading volume 1 of a Proust compilation. He’s certainly ambitious and makes me feel bad for rarely reading a book over 350 pages.

The book I am just about to start is called Breakfast With Tiffany – an uncle’s memoir by Edwin John Wintle. Apparently this gay New Yorker decides to help out his sister by letting his 13 year old niece stay with him for awhile and go to school in NYC. Being a big fan of the Big Apple, I find anything at all related to the city to be most fascinating.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

History is Made...

Perhaps it’s a bit cliché to write about this since it’s currently the hot topic, but it feels a bit like not talking about the elephant in the room, which is what my entire day (Wed.) has been like. I learned it’s not a good idea to discuss politics in the office (unless maybe you’re sure everyone is like-minded, but even then…). Hence, I’ve just tried to be friendly and polite and the only time the subject came up is when my boss commented on Michelle Obama’s dress.

My husband and I tried to avoid watching any of the election coverage last night lest we get our hopes up only to discover McCain had actually been elected. However, I did sneak a peek at a couple of the running totals and both times Obama was well in the lead. I could hear “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” playing softly in my head as I imagined Sarah Palin stomping back to Alaska. Too bad for the comedians. I think she gave them enough material for at least two terms.

Anyway, I was first to grab the remote, so I got the good news from BBC America, which is our default channel. Being sick with a cold I didn’t quite feel up to jumping up and down, so I settled for a hug and kiss from my husband and then sat with my bowl of Cheerios to watch the outpouring of gratitude from my adopted country of Great Britain.

When I got to work I received these two e-mails from across the pond:

Congratulations - the next president looks like someone who commands respect and might get things done.
-- (from my in-laws)

I think it is good for America and the rest of the world that Obama won, but we wait to see how much he can actually achieve. It was necessary to have a clean break from the George W Bush era which will certainly not go down as one of the most distinguished in history. No doubt you will have a celebratory drink or two this evening!
-- (from my former boss, the other GWB whom I much prefer)

I also watched a news clip of Prime Minister Gordon Brown (who frankly looked a bit sleepy, or maybe that’s how he always looks?). After about an hour of web-surfing the news, I settled into the serious business of looking for a celebratory t-shirt (something to both commemorate and perhaps boast of our victory). There were lots of choices – some in good taste and some down right racist (like the one that said, “Don’t Worry People. It can stay white on the outside (referring to the White House) – couldn’t quite make out the KKK pointy heads, but it was a rather small picture). I finally settled on a long sleeve t-shirt with Obama’s “Yes We Can” speech, and a button that says, “A President’s IQ should be Three Digits.” I might still buy something else to wear on Inauguration Day, but will decide that another day.

Trying to find a newspaper at lunch time was an exercise in futility. I never thought my fellow Americans would be so sentimental wanting to have one as a keepsake, but then scrapbooking is a pretty hot trend. I’m sure some people may have just wanted one to read up on the election news.

I read in Thursday's paper that people were buying them by the armload, and of course quite a few "entrepreneurs" went so low as to try and make a profit by selling them on Craig's List (for $25 and $50) and E-bay. I guess that shouldn't surprise me since there will always be a few people out there trying to make a fast and easy buck. I ended up ordering a bundle of 5 for the very reasonable price of $9.50. I may have to wait a few weeks to get them, but I'm in no hurry.

Thursday, November 6, 2008