Monday, March 21, 2016

Winter 2016 Reading List Wrap-up

I plan what I read in advance for two reasons. The first is because of a conversation I had with my buddy Mark years ago about appropriate books for corresponding seasons. I think it's great to read books that set a mood for a season like the old fashion summer reading list or the “beach reads” that we'll start seeing in the corporate bookstores soon. The second reason might be because I was trained to create semester reading lists in grad school.

I do not faithfully follow reading lists and I never have, not even in grad school. I write down more titles than I can read in a given time and I'll leave some and pick up others.

I picked up Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time, for example. For those unfamiliar with this book, it's a book for young adults. It's an important book too, it's not only the beginning of a series of five books, it also won the Newbery Award in 1963.

It's a funny thing, A Wrinkle in Time, I feel like I may have tried to read this at some point in my life because the opening pages were very, very familiar. Of course the first line: “It was a dark and stormy night,” is both cliché and ridiculous. Maybe things were different back in 1962 when the book was written.

I remember this book when I was in my early teens, which was the early to mid 1980s. There were other kids reading this book and the other books in the series. I did not read it because I simply did not read any books at that age. In a way, when I read these sorts of books, The Lord of the Rings last year, it's like I'm trying to read a youth I didn't have. I had trouble reading and a disquieting incident when I was quite young that really prevented my interest in books at an impressionable age.

Admittedly, I am grateful to have read A Wrinkle in Time, although I didn't much care for it. I didn't much care for the proselytizing portion near the end of the story, nor did I care for the dialogue for much of the book. I loved the main character, Meg, an awkward underdog who must transform. Who wouldn't love her? But the way other characters spoke to her, Calvin particularly, made me question both his character's motivations and the authenticity of Meg.

All of that aside, something far more insidious happened when I read this book. Something that makes me question who I am, how I think, learn and read.

This book, A Wrinkle in Time, was the first actual book I've read in months. I flipped pages for this book. The other books I've read this year have been on my Kindle. I love the Kindle for a variety of reasons. I love my Kindle because it's back lit and I read in bed late at night. I love the Kindle because I can make the font as large as I need to see. I don't wear my glasses when I read the Kindle. Books are inexpensive, convenient to buy and many of the classics are free.

That said, both The Age of Innocence and Madam Bovary I enjoyed immensely. But try as I might, I don't remember specific things. The former book, the one I read with good ol' ink and pulp, I remember several passages. This is not odd because when I think about it, I remember whole sentences and sometimes whole paragraphs from other books I've read. I'm suggesting that those good ol' ink and pulp books may be more permanent both on the shelf and in my comprehension of them.

Interestingly, the Kindle is very convenient, I can highlight passages that mean something to me and I can instantly look up a word, but after that, gone and forgotten.

When I write down a passage, I will remember it; and for whatever reason, I can easily find it on a printed page within a book. Likewise, when I look up a word, I tend to remember long enough to use it.

All side, the winter reading list, I enjoyed what I read. I also read books of tremendous importance: A Wrinkle in Time won the Newberry in 1963, The Age of Innocence won the Pulizer; Madam Bovary is considered the father of the modern realism novel not to mention that the court case behind it made it a best seller in its day. And then there was Boobtube Mark and Lesleyann Coker's book which is important in its own right, it is responsible for the creation of

For any of us, reading is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. In this day of constant cellular entertainment, it's refreshing to just read. I have to believe that. I believe it so much that it's something I tell everyone I know. It's my claim that I won't fall victim to dementia because I read, add and subtract either mentally or manually, and I write in cursive. Reading is number one.


L'Engle, Madeleine. A Wrinkle in Time. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York: 1962.
Lensworks #123 Mar-Apr 2016. Brooks Jensen & Maureen Gallagher, eds. Ancotes WA: 2016.
Coker, Mark and Lesleyann. Boobtube. Kindle Digital File.
Flaubert, Gustave. Madam Bovary. Kindle Digital File.
Wharton, Edith. The Age of Innocence. Kindle Digital File.
Lensworks #122 Jan-Feb 2016. Brooks Jensen & Maureen Gallagher, eds. Ancotes WA: 2016.

Rossetti, Christina. “Goblin Market” and other poems. Kindle Digital File.

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