Books, snow, tea, boxes

I may have mentioned here once or twice before my deep and abiding love for the written word. No?

Well, in the last week, while in Boulder and DC, I read five books in seven days. Three novels: Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife (the first two books in the very-much-not-just-for-children His Dark Materials series) and China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station (not to be missed by anyone who likes dark, evocative, downright creepy writing and appreciates a lushly described setting that’s as much a character as any other in the book). On the non-fiction front, Diane Ackerman’s poetic, though occasionally inaccurate (I read too much science) A Natural History of the Senses and Richard Dawkins’ majestic The Selfish Gene (which I’m not sure how I’d gone for so long without reading). I now believe that anyone who participates in blogmemes should be required to read The Selfish Gene, at least the part where Dawkins coins and explicates the word "memes."

Next up: Geraldine Brooks’ March. I read the first page and a half out loud to my mom, reveling in the gorgeous sad language, then put it away so I could read it later in a slow-savoring mode rather than gorging the whole thing down in a single giant up-til-three gollup. Anyone else read it already? It’s the story of Mr. March, the father in Little Women, away on the battlefields of the Civil War. And it won the Pulitzer, and I’ve been meaning to increase my litsnob quotient by reading each year’s Pulitzer, Booker and National Book Critics award-winning novels, and though I’ve made no progress so far on that front, this seems a solid place to start. And I loved Little Women on all four or five or six readings.

Snow? Tea? Boxes? It’s an inexplicably cold and snowy day, which will wreak havoc on Fisher’s class’ planned field trip to the chicken farm. Snowy days are perfect for curling up with a cup of tea and a good book–but alas, what I’m supposed to be doing with books these days is not reading them, but packing them into an endless series of banker’s boxes so that they can be transported to storage, there to languish until we move.

So far I’ve emptied out one bookshelf (the four-shelf, crammed-two-deep one beside my bed) and filled five boxes with lovely, beautiful, spectrum-spanning books. They wait patiently, spines up, arrayed to maximize space without crunching their margins or wrinkling their jackets (those few that have jackets–how I hate hardcovers!).

I miss them already.


About Molly Newman

Writer, cook and trivia/spelling bee hostess, living it up in North Portland.
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6 Responses to Books, snow, tea, boxes

  1. sam says:

    I love Philip Pullman and would love to reread His Dark Materials. Sadly, we loaned the first book to a friend a few years ago and have seen neither book nor friend in some time. Many of his books are great for children, but a few get to wait till the kids are just a little less kid, The Ruby in the Smoke for example.

  2. Mimi says:

    I love reading, and am very much looking forward to “March” let me know what you think.
    We began packing in November and moved in March, so I remember those days of bookless surroundings. Sigh.

  3. Laelaps says:

    Nothing like a good book, or several for that matter. I just received a 2nd edition (1874) copy of Darwin’s The Descent of Man so I’ve been running through that along with Christopher McGowan’s “Dinosaurs, Spitfires, and Sea Dragons” about the physics/engineering behind extinct reptiles. I recently finished G.G. Simpson’s “The Meaning of Evolution” (1950) too, and I’m anxiously awaiting my copy of the old creationist text “Omphalos,” wherein the author tries to explain that when the world was created God was trying to trick us into thinking it was old; i.e. sharks were created with wear on their teeth and other features that would lead the observer to believe they had led a full life and not just popped up out the air. Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment but such a work of historical fiction is not to be missed, hah.

  4. Amy Sorensen says:

    I just picked up “March” from the library on Monday, where it had finally come in for me. I’ve not started it yet as I was in the middle of something else I’ve been reading, but am almost finished with that book and will start on March next. Natural History is one of my favs…I DON’T read a lot of science so I’ve no idea of the scientific inaccuracies, but I like her writing voice.

  5. Helena says:

    I have mixed feelings about His Dark Materials. Most of it was a good read but I felt like it didn’t deliver. I was kind of expecting the knife, “Gods-Destroyer,” to actually destroy some gods or something, for example. I guess I’ll re-read in again one of these years and see how it goes down the second time.

  6. Janelle says:

    March is definitely a slow-savoring read. I’ll always remember reading those first few pages–it was like being gently tugged by the hand into another world. Wonderful book!

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