Saturday, October 1, 2011

Reading Words

Lately I have had trouble writing. Anything, from memos at work to creative wits here in the blogosphere. I was airing this frustration to a friend and they replied, "Well, what are you reading?" That caught me off guard, but then I saw the truth and wisdom in it, words inspire words. I haven't been reading anything. Well, that technically isn't true. I read the free paper on the train everyday, I read emails and memos and spreadsheets at work, I read emails and texts and blogs. But there is just something different about a book. Words that don't have deadlines, except for library due dates. Words that don't need responses rightthisverysecond. Words that seemingly don't have relation to the mundane of your existence. But also words that can cut to the very heart of that existence.


So I headed to the local branch of the public library, which is conveniently located next to Trader Joe's and their Strawberry Lemonade which I am pretty sure is the nectar of some heathen god.


I had a couple of self imposed rules for my little scavenger hunt of words.


Get a variety of genres. I wasn't really sure of what kind of stories would break my malaise, so sought out all corners of library. Well almost all corners.  I will pretty much read anything but there are a couple of genres that I really just don't like. The most prominent is mystery books, you know,  anything having to do with solving a murder. This seems odd to anyone that knows my TV viewing habits. I will watch any show that has a detective in it. Any.  When I said in an earlier post that I have seen every episode of Law & Order,  I am not kidding.  I have seen every episode since season 1. Well, the original L&O, all the spin-offs I have always found lackluster.  But books about the same crime and drama, meh.  So, even though I was trying to get a variety of books, I just couldn't make myself pick up a solve the mystery book.


However, I did get a boy meets girl book. This is another genre that I usually leave on the shelf. I know that these kind of books are meant to be fluffy, but the majority of ones that I have read are just full of characters that have no substances that it usually isn't worth the effort the read the words printed on the page. But I was determined. I roamed up and down the isles, twice, picking up books with pink covers, with hearts, and syrupy telenovella sounding titles. I also try to avoid any books that sounds like it could be Lifetime made for TV movie.  I finally found one that sounded decent, threw in it my bag and felt proud of myself for being so open minded.


I also picked up a young adult book, a fantasy book, a book about Sylvia Plath, a couple of "general fiction" books, and a Tim O'Brien book.


The Tim O'Brien book broke another one of my rules: get books by authors I haven't read. The Things They Carried is one of my favorite modern day fiction (although somewhat autobiographic) books. The last chapter, in fact, is one of the most beautiful things that I have ever read. I heard O'Brien speak a couple of years ago and he read from that chapter and I sat in a room full of people with tears streaming down my face and I didn't care one bit. He is a master storyteller.  I saw In the Lake of the Woods sitting peacefully on the shelf, and it somehow found its way into my bad. I made myself promise that I would save it until I have read all the other books. Its been hard.


So, I have a pile of books, let the inspiration begin!


A friend also lent me the Hunger Games series. I read the first book, but haven't been able to track down the others.

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