Category archives for books read
Last year, someone said to me, “but the point of reading a book isn’t to finish it and put it on a list of books you say you’ve read!,” and I thought “oh, you have no idea that that’s exactly what I do.” I’m trying to move away from looking at books as something to achieve and complete, yet I still like to be able to look back on and remember what I’ve read. So far this year —
Hey there. It’s been a while. I’ve got some thoughts about returning to writing and taking pictures again soon, but they’re still only thoughts.
For now, I can tell you that Fleming Rutledge’s The Crucifixion was my favorite book I read in 2018, with Iris Murdoch’s The Green Knight runner-up. It took me over a month of 2019 to slog through Murdoch’s The Sea, the Sea; I’d been told to read it several times, but it was my least favorite of hers so far. And I know I read something else before that, but I can’t remember what, and that suggests it wasn’t a win.
I can tell you that Bon Appetit’s Adult Mac & Cheese is worth getting down by memory and feel, without measuring cups; it’s not revolutionary, but it’s quick and just a few ingredients and less frustrating than cacio e pepe. Alison Roman’s The Stew, as Instagram calls it, is worth the hype.
Finally, I’ve been thinking about Chuck DeGroat’s words on Transfiguration Sunday & Ash Wednesday. I am a speck of dust. The world was made for me.
I’ve begun the habit of listing each book I read in posts by year. I like the sense of accomplishment from uploading and watching each thumbnail appear, and I like skimming over and remembering what I’ve read.
Last year I read exactly 52 books (not counting the dryer requiring reading for classes). I’m proud of having read an average of a book a week while in graduate school, and as I look over the covers, I’d say a good quarter or third of them were really good and meaningful. Not bad odds, but I’d like to read even better books in 2018.
Think how much any individual mind, any brain, is enlarged by what we can know through books and through literature — places, people, ideas that we would never otherwise experience, things much larger than anyone could contain in his or her own person. People crave this. You go way back into antiquity and everybody is memorizing Homer, everybody is memorizing “The Epic of Gilgamesh” — works of literature that build the cultural mind and make it capacious. Most of us are not the creators of those things, but we possess ourselves of them — or they possess us of them. And each successive work of literature expands the possibilities of our language, deepening our expressive capacity. In almost every major literature there are works that make you love being human, and make you love and revere the humanity of other people. That is the great potential of any art.
— Marilynne Robinson in The New York Times
I’ve been reading so much lately, a book every four or five days and often a book in a day. I’ve loved it; loved feeling my brain expand rapidly day by day by day. Marilynne always knows.