When I Was a Child, I Read Books
Hello! Remember me? I’m that chick who used to write cool posts about literary style and books and stuff. Not so much anymore.
I stopped because it was a particularly busy week, both socially and professionally. And then I got caught in the busy trap–convincing myself that I was too busy, there wasn’t enough time to update the blog. Once I stopped updating, I just couldn’t start again, even though I wanted to. It’s a classic form of procrastination, and I don’t have any excuse or reason for it. I’m just going to try and dive right back in to the posting. Excuse the interruption. Please forgive me. Etc.
For book club this month, we decided to do something a little different–instead of one person offering up 3 choices, we each offered one choice, then voted. Catch was, we couldn’t choose our own book. Pretty sneaky. Anyway, the book I chose to offer was Marilynne Robinson’s When I Was A Child I Read Books. And the rest of the book club picked it. And I am finally working my way through it (we’re meeting tomorrow) and…I’m a little sorry I chose it.
Let me explain–I loved Robinson’s fiction. Housekeeping is one of my favorite books. Given the title of this new book of essays, I (perhaps foolishly) assumed that it was about reading, and childhood, and love of literature. Now there’s some topics I can really get behind. Instead, the book is a high-minded commentary on politics, religion, and American values. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing–it’s just not what I expected, or was hoping for. I think I was hoping for Robinson to spin tales of sitting alone in the schoolyard, reading books in bed at night by the crack of light under the door to the hall, begging her parents to take her to the library for more books–so I would feel validated in this ridiculous attachment, nearly romantic in nature, to books.
Now, don’t get me wrong–Robinson’s writing is still lovely and intelligent, and she makes some interesting points. It’s just not what I wanted. And I’m a little sad about it, though it should spark some interesting discussions at book club.
I guess I’ve been thinking a lot recently about reading, and books, and why they mean so much to me. So much that I’ve pretty much staked my life on them, or at least my living. I realize how ridiculous this is, given the current and ever-shifting shape of the publishing industry, not to mention how poorly it pays. And I’ve thought about turning my back on books–what have they done for me lately? But for whatever silly, nostalgic, romantic reason, I just can’t. Books, I just can’t quit you. I guess I’m here to stay. For whatever that’s worth.