May 02, 2008

Inside the pages

I don't like bookmarks. Oh, it's not that I have anything against pretty little pieces of cardboard decorated with kittens or flowers or birds: it's that I don't like to stop partway through a book and come back to it later. When I have only a few minutes to read, I'll pick up a book I've read before, choosing some random bit. New books, I prefer to read from cover to cover, in one gulp.

When I was a kid, I loved that in the summertime I could stay up late reading as late as I wanted. I could begin a book and read right through to the end. I could disappear completely into the pages — and stay there. It's still one of my favorite things about summer: whether it's a book I'm reading because I might want to use it in a course or a book I just picked up because it covers one of my favorite topics, I have the space and time to read a book all the way through without interruption.

So as the semester ends, I begin cleaning my office, tossing away outdated memos, filing stuff for next year, getting rid of the papers that have piled up on my desk. And then I look eagerly through the stack of books on the floor, all those wonderful pages that will keep me company all summer long.

Lost in the pages

What I'm reading in this photo is the latest issue of the Antioch Review, which features a short story by none other than Artist Friend.

12 comments:

Kathryn and Ari said...

Hi, Jo(e)!
I've been an truly awful blogging pal these days, but today was our last day of class so I'm back on my visiting hobbyhorse. It's nice to be back to your page, and to see that spring is stretching even into your neck of the woods. I'll have to check out the latest -Antioch Review- to see Artist Friend's story. As soon as these finals are out of the way, I should have much-needed time for such luxuries!

Teri said...

I also prefer to read books straight through--I'll often take a day each week to do so, even though it's horribly irresponsible. :-)

Monae said...

Hello Jo(e),

I have been visiting your blog quite a bit but I have never left you a comment until now that is. I have to tell you that I enjoy reading and visiting your blog whenever I get the chance. I think that this blog is worth visiting time and time and time and time again. I truly wish that I could be one of your students they are truly lucky to have you as a teacher. Thank you for sharing your blog with us and do know that you have me as a reader and fan.

jo(e) said...

Hey, Kathryn: Classes just ended here too. Definitely check out the Artist Friend's story -- it's really a compelling one.

Teri: I like the idea of taking a day each week just for reading and nothing else.

Monae: Thanks for delurking! I getting comments from readers, even though I am usually terrible about responding to them.

BlackenedBoy said...

So nice that you feel this way. I don't usually read books cover to cover (though I have done it on several occasions), but I love them.

I find that the older I get, the harder it is to find stories that truly capture my interest.

When one of them comes along (like "The Hand-Maid's Tale," which I'm reading now), it's surprising and delightful.

Writer Chica said...

Oh, I loved reading through entire books in one sitting when I was younger. Don't have the opportunity now, but maybe as the children get older...

Gawdess said...

the happiest days of my childhood were spent journeying through the interiors of books,at my grandmother's, sitting in the grass, under a tree or in the porch swing that had been cobbled together out of a rusting iron frame and the backseat of some old car.
I have been struggling with finding time to really read in the last few years - with the guilt that there really are other things I should do.
Thank you for this reminder both written and in photo, for opening the door to this important memory for me!

Sue said...

My favourite part of summer was diving into books. My mom would go into town (we had a summer cottage) once a week to return our books to the library and bring us a new batch. It was the best day of the week!

Marie said...

I used to be like that, a book devourer. Now, I'm more of a dabbler. It's weird, I usually have 2 or more going at once and I don't read much fiction. I miss fiction. Anyway, what I really came to say is that I love the picture!

Songbird said...

I'm planning a reading day on Monday; can't wait!

Artist Friend said...

Whoever reads my story in The Antioch Review, I hope you like it. It's a good issue all the way through and I'm honored to be part of it. It occurred to me recently that the reason I like rainy days so much is that when I was a kid, rain gave me a perfect excuse to get lost in a book with no pressure from the kids outside to go play football or baseball or whatever. I love writing when it's raining these days, too.

Silver Creek Mom said...

My daughter just got her first story publsihed in her school arts mag. She entered it in a contest but did not win for prose. But it's an amazing story. From my perspective.

I loe to read on my back deck in the summer. Grant you with a 6 year old I don't have time to read cover to cover. But maybe we'll make it a daily thing to sit and read together. I'd like that. Not sure about him though. LOL!