“You are today who you will be in five years except for the people you meet and the books you read,” says Charlie “Tremendous” Jones. I’m not sure this is true, but it lessens the guilt I feel over all the books I own, my ever growing wish list of books, the messy piles of books throughout the house and the fact I’ve grown non-committal with age (instead of disciplining myself to finish before starting a new one, I now allow myself to read four, five, six at a time!) “Two timing” is not a sin I ever dreamed I’d commit against a good book, but now I’m addicted and can’t imagine going back to the monotony of one book at a time. I figure if I have to endure hot flashes, reading glasses and stubborn love handles, I’m granted a bit of grace. So I’ve lightened up and allow myself to drop boring books without explanation and bounce back and forth between interests. We recently listened to a Ted Talk about “slow motion multi tasking” by Tim Harford https://www.npr.org/2019/05/10/719575727/tim-harford-how-can-slow-motion-multitasking-boost-our-creativity, this was all the rationalization I needed to find peace with stacks of books and my “popcorn” style of reading till I’m bored and trading out subjects.
In my current bedside pile, you will find two thick theology books, a permaculture design manual, an heirloom seed catalog, two Bibles- different translations, a guide to raising chickens, a paleo cookbook, a devotional, a CS Lewis trilogy (my first science fiction books ever!) and a biography on Mr Rogers. We won’t talk about the stack on my desk……
I rarely read fiction (except for classics), not because I don’t love a good story, but because my thirst to learn rules the book list. A couple of times I brought fiction books on vacation, but then felt guilty that I used up hours on beautiful beaches escaping into a story- I could do that anywhere! Why spend money to travel somewhere if I’m stuck in a book? Maybe my problem is I get into the story a bit too much. When my children were young and I was delusional enough to attempt reading a book, I’d get so frustrated about having to tend to those little people who somehow invaded my house- and invariably they needed to be fed or changed or bathed just as I turned to a suspenseful page. If the book was really good, they’d run in screaming with bones sticking out of their skin or haul home a box full of stray puppies or something equally crazy that required me put my book down and tend to them. Like the good mother I am, I’d feed them, clean up the blood, do the laundry and then stay up all night to finish the story. This never worked out well the next day. So I remain torn about when to read fiction. I have a long list of stories I’d like to read- I call it my “broken leg back up book plan”. If I ever end up being relegated to bedrest, then I’ll indulge; that is after I organize the huge Rubbermaid container of photos from my entire existence and the lives of my children (back in the day before our phones were cameras) that I manage to procrastinate sorting (I just move it across states and oceans in the same jumbled mess it’s always been in and promise to get to it someday.)
So, that’s the backstory to why this blog has a whole section dedicated to books I’m reading. Books are important to me. I love to learn about God, people, gardens, history, cooking, science, places, nature, health, etc. -books are like magic pills of knowledge right within our reach! I’ll be reading lots of good books for the Masters in Christian Formation and Discipleship program I just began; I find I glean more if I read with the intent to share, so I’m going to share bits and pieces here- the best quotes and ideas and stories. This gives me a chance to process on a deeper level and hopefully throw something helpful or edifying your way. And I love to hear what others are reading (so I can continue to rearrange my wish list lol) so please feel free to share your recommendations in the comments.