Saturday, October 22, 2011


Books, books, books! I Love books! Last December I posted this poem, along with the list of books I had read during the year...

Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them!
  by Arnold Lobel

It is just So true (well, except about the beard.  I don't think that is likely.)  Recently, though, I have noticed what seems to be a small hitch in my reading "plans." Most of my reading is, very loosely speaking, of the self-educational sort, and I've been trying to keep roughly along with where the kids are reading in history.  For instance, we will come up on Darwin in a few weeks, and I have Darwin, His Daughter, & Human Evolution by Randal Keynes and Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith, by Deborah Heiligman all ready to go.  In fact, I need to hurry up with Charles and Emma, because I may assign it to Travis also. Only trouble is, I'm also finishing up Framley Parsonage by Trollope (and sorely tempted to immediately move on to The Small House at Allington) and Pax Britannica: Climax of an Empire, by Jan Morris, is all ready to go on my Sansa Fuze. (And, actually, I'm also in the middle of The Battle for God, by Karen Armstrong and An Experiment in Criticism, by C.S. Lewis) Stacked up on the desk and full of allure are biographies of Queen Victoria, Rudyard Kipling, Louisa May Alcott, Abraham Lincoln ..... You begin to see the problem?  We finished the American Revolutionary period weeks ago, and I still have several books that I haven't yet read, and, to be completely honest, the same thing happened with the Middle Ages. My plans and my reading speed don't match. Sigh.  And then, of course, I don't Really stick to my "assigned" reading. Last night I started Mort, by Terry Pratchett.  I had to -- it is a Kindle library book, and I've been waiting for my turn to come up, and I've only got two weeks before the librarian presses a button and sucks it right back off my little Kindle. Technology giveth and technology taketh away!

A while back, I noticed a book on Amazon called Howards End is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home, by Susan Hill. The book looked interesting (but not enough to pay for, until it gets down to that magic "$4 including shipping" price), but the real attraction is the title. A year of bookish abstinence. Now, of course, the idea looks much more appealing to me now than it would have a month ago because, for my birthday this month, my parents,Ed, and a generous aunt gave me all the books at the top of my Amazon list.  I am satiated at the moment (and a lovely feeling it is, too!). Still, even recognizing that things will look much different in February, when I may toss all my good intentions to the wind, I am beginning a nine month moratorium on book buying. Nine months because by next August the kids will be starting in on the twentieth century in history (and literature), and I'm sure I will have to do a little reading up. Plus, I've counted up my Books to Be Read, and I think nine months is reasonable.  Plus, a Year just sounds so Long and Daunting! 

And now for the Qualifications and Exclusions! (Katie says this is the part where I ruin the whole plan by giving myself permission to Cheat.).  Books for the kids don't count.  Their educations require me to send money to Amazon, much as it may pain me.  And library books don't either (not that That offers much temptation, given the quality of the libraries to which I have access).  And I have to keep my Audible account (I committed to that when I got my "free" Kindle!).  Librivox doesn't count either.  And I'm still allowed free Kindle books from Amazon and to take advantage of the Kindle $1 and $2 book deals (most of those discounted books are vampire porn, but yesterday I got Latitude, by Dava Sobol for $2.99!). Oh, and I make exception for purchase if Thomas Cahill happens to come out with another in his Hinges of History series.  Or if N.T. Wright comes out with something irresistible. But that is it! (Now, of course, if I am given a few books for Christmas, That would be quite permissible too!)  I feel wonderfully virtuous already!

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