I used to be a voracious reader---someone would mention a book, and I had probably already read it. Or read something very similar. Or read something else from that author.
I am not bragging; this is just what happens when you don't watch television and you are happiest tucked in your bed with a book. If I could get my family to occasionally bring me a cup of coffee and maybe throw a croissant (preferably with Nutella) on a plate now and then and deliver it to me in my comfy bed, I'd be the happiest girl in all of GTMO.
But life doesn't let me do that, so I have to be an adult, leave my room, and deal with responsibilities.
And now there is modern technology here. In a few months time, I have become glued to shows and series I can stream online, and it is embarrassing how little I've read this year when I looked over my list (yes, I keep a list of every book I read---I have been doing this on and off since high school).
I decided to make a list just for me of to-read books for 2017. Most are sitting on my bookshelves at home waiting to be read, so it was easy to compile the list. Then I went to my Goodreads account, and was absolutely horrified to see that I added some of those books to my to-read list in 2007. TEN YEARS I have been dragging these poor books around with all good intentions of reading them, but will it finally happen in 2017? Some are still sitting in the boxes from when I moved here in 2012. . . this is pitiful. So I am going to make this the year of either reading the damn books, or finally giving them away.
|31 books (and counting) that I MUST read by the end of 2017. . .|
Some books I started and life and other things got in the way. Many were gifts and I feel guilty that I never finished them (or in the case of 1-2, never read them). A few I bought because I was going to hear the author speak and wanted them signed. Then I never read them. Again, pitiful. Why buy a book if I am not going to read it? And why not give it away instead of dragging it around like dead weight for 10+ years?
Review #1: Okay, first off I know this is still 2016, but I'm getting a head start if I am reading 31 books (or more) in 2017. I started with reading Jean-Dominique Bauby's The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. This is a short one (only 131 pages) that I picked up at the thrift store here (because I don't already have boxes of books in my garage---argh). It's the memoir of a man who has had a stroke at 43 years old and can only move one eyelid. He comes up with a system of dictating his memoir by blinking when his therapist reads him the letter he wants and writes out each word for him. Letter by letter, he dictated this book in only a few months. It's short but it is chock full of beautiful and ethereal images and stories---mostly small moments that at the time didn't seem important, but are given special precedence or gravity as he is in bed paralyzed with "locked-in syndrome." (Active mind, ability to see and hear, but no ability to move or talk). The book is dream-like, and some of the vignettes---like the last time he shaved his 93 year old father---brought me to tears. The diving bell is his current life---a life where he is trapped inside a somewhat useless body. But his thoughts? "My mind takes flight like a butterfly." It's beautiful and full of hope.
|Early Diving Bell sketch from the late 1700s---|
Connection to my life (because I always make my students do this): The book has haunted me for the last few days and I realized that the diving bell and the butterfly is a great analogy for life here in Cuba---it's being trapped but also in many ways, being given the gift of time. Many days, it is the feeling like I am being trapped and very anxious and sad---the diving bell. But being trapped here (literally) gives me time to reflect on people and memories that make me happy. I have time to reflect and DO. I no longer commute an hour each way to work. I can play games with my kids and we all four eat dinner together around a table every night. I have time to do things I want to do, like run, go to yoga, take painting classes, join a writer's group, or just hang out with friends. I can be creative and when running or painting or writing, I also let my mind take flight---like a butterfly.
So that's my book recommendation of the week---and support your local library, because I'm sure they have it.