On my bedside table...
Usually, I read one book at a time. Right now, I find myself dabbling in five at once, all very different, very satisfying in their own way. Three are ebooks on my cellphone, constantly available for a quick few pages wherever I am. Two are paperbacks so I can indulge in the feel and smell of an actual book. Here are the titles I’m juggling right now:
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I read through this megalith of a novel for the first time about 15 years ago. Since then, my DH and I have seen the musical in London and the wonderful movie adaptation with Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush came out. The musical version is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. I enjoyed a concert version on PBS last week. The style of a 19th century novel is still pretty sluggish compared to the lightning fast reads of today, but the themes in this story are so monumental, so deep, a more leisurely pace is warranted.
His at Night by Sherry Thomas. This is another re-read for me–a candy read. I’m not trying to dissect or study it. Sherry’s fresh prose always washes over me like warm rain. The bones of this story remind me of The Scarlet Pimpernel. Her hero acts the fool in order to hide the fact that he’s part of a secret crime investigative unit on behalf of the Crown. Looking forward to her next book, which according to her website won’t be out till 2012 when we’ll have 3 new titles to savor. In the meantime, I heartily recommend every book this talented author has written.
How Should We Then Live? by Francis Schaeffer. This is my current non-fiction title. It’s part Western Civ survey, part Christian apologetics, part philosophy primer. Since I’m always interested in how people thought about themselves and their place in the world at different times in history, this book is fascinating on so many levels. I really appreciate Dr. Schaeffer’s clarity of thought.
Dies the Fire by S. M. Stirling. This post-apocalyptic tale was my daughter’s recommendation. The premise is that something happens to cause all electrical and mechanical technology to stop working. Planes fall from the sky. Internal combustion engines won’t turn over. And most importantly, guns won’t fire. Food becomes the new currency and mankind is tossed back to an age when brute force determines who survives. The beginning, in which a small plane crash lands in the Idaho wilderness, really grabbed me. My DH is a private pilot and we’ve logged plenty of hours in a Cessna 182, flying from Salt Lake City through Pocatello and up the corridor through the mountains where West Yellowstone sits at the convergence of two passes. Riveting. This story has captured my imagination big time.
And lastly, my new book club selection The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I have high hopes for this story. Last month’s book (The Corrections) was a depressing disaster, and the women in my book club and I universally despised it. However, we found enough in the story to talk about it for an hour and a half. That may have been because of the wine and cheese, or perhaps just being in the company of well-read kindred souls. I’m really enjoying making reading a communal activity. When I run into other members of the group in my building, we have an instant connection.
American novelist Henry Miller was right when he said “A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition. Like money, books must be kept in constant circulation. Lend and borrow to the maximum — of both books and money! But especially books, for books represent infinitely more than money. A book is not only a friend, it makes friends for you. When you have possessed a book with mind and spirit, you are enriched. But when you pass it on you are enriched threefold.”
So what book will you share with others this week?