Balancing the Books

Posted by on June 4, 2014 in reading | Comments Off on Balancing the Books

Years ago, one of my friends set up three to-be-read piles in his apartment — fiction, non-fiction, and classics.  He read in order, taking the top book on each pile, alternating between the three piles, always adding new books to the bottom.

Me?  I pretty much smash-and-grab.

I have a *lot* of books on my to-be-read shelf.  And more on my wish list.  And even more that are on the bookshelves scattered through our house — books that belonged to Mark and that look inviting, if I ever find the time to get to them.

Alas, I read relatively slowly.  And when I’m busy (socially or with work or whatever), the only reading time I have is the 15 minutes or so before I fall asleep each night.  I’m gradually coming to accept that I’ll never read all the to-be-read books in my life.  (I’m having a much harder time accepting that than I am, say, accepting that I’ll never win a medal at the Olympics…)


Given the general craziness in Klaskyville for the past few months, I’ve been reading mostly “candy” — contemporary romance, YA, light literary novels.  But last week, during Staycation, I decided I was up for something with a bit more meat.  I pulled up a book I’ve been meaning to get to for over a year — Hilary Mantel’s BRING UP THE BODIES (the second volume in her chronicle of Thomas Cromwell’s life.)

I am *loving* it.  I’m loving the language — both what she says (and what she doesn’t) and how she says it.  I’m loving the characterization, which is accomplished with such an economy of language that I’m astonished.  I’m loving the history, at least viewed through Mantel’s lens.

I’ve been holding off on “thought” books, on “literary” books, on “hard” books, because I’ve been juggling so much.  But maybe, just maybe, I was making a mistake.

How about you?  What types of books do you turn to when life is chaotic?