I was on the Chicago Public Library's website today and they have a summer program called Take 20 which encourages parents to read to their children 20 minutes per day. It started me thinking about reading, why people read, people who read and people who don't read. I know my parents read to me but I don't remember it. What I do remember was my favorite room in our house when I was growing up. We had a guest bedroom with a sofa bed and tension shelving that housed the paperback collection. My parents never stopped me from reading anything - if it was in that room I could have it. The hardcover books were on display downstairs and required a bit more parental supervision.
One of my favorite books of all time is Kane & Abel by Jeffrey Archer. It's a sweeping saga of good and evil and twists of fate in the style that Archer has perfected. When he came to Chicago a few years ago I got to meet him and he, and Maurice Sendak, are the reasons I read. I can't imagine not being able to read or not wanting to read. I know people who aren't readers and I know I can't change their habits so I will just wonder what they do instead of reading. I do have a friend that I manage to suggest one book a year so I consider that a success. I just feel that reading is one of the greatest hobbies. You are never alone if you have a book.
So, on that note, Archer has another series. My mom read these as they came out but I held back a little. Yes, he's been around for a while and he's recycling some themes and poking fun at events in his life. That said "Only Time Will Tell" was a great story. All the great Archer themes - intertwined family histories, mistaken identity, weaving in of current events, greed and business. I tore through this one and quickly followed up the second book, "The Sins of the Father". (Spoiler alert: The only strange story line is why would you marry someone if there is a possibility that they are your half brother? That sort of bothered me but I got over it). I'm hoping the energy and excitement continues through the rest of the books in the series (there are 5). Shame on me that I don't keep up with Archer's website because there was a Binge Read for the series. That is a great idea! Instead of binge watching tv - why not binge read some books?
Friday, April 24, 2015
I liked learning more about LeGuin in the course of preparing for our discussion. She is an interesting author. This book can be a challenge at times if you are not a fan of science fiction. Some parts of it can get long - like the journey across the ice which some of us were reading when Chicago was at its coldest. Brrrr....
I have questions for the narrator because he tells others stories but not his own. He mentions that he volunteered for his mission? Why? Was he trying to escape something? Did he have anyone he missed? Anyone who missed him?
Both discussion groups agreed that when this book was written it was probably really pushing the envelope but now gender issues, and questions about male/female identification, are mainstream issues. We could have done more to discuss the political issues in the book but there was only so much time. If you are interested in reading this book I would suggest reading it with a group to make sure you finish it and also to talk more about it when you are done.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
I loved Alan Cumming in "Circle of Friends". It makes me laugh that he launched a men's cologne named Cumming. (Which I just found out was made in conjunction with the person who now has the line I Hate Perfume that has an In the Library fragrance I like). I also have seen him act in "Josie and the Pussycats" and "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion". I wish he did more intros for Masterpiece Mystery because I love the way he sets up an episode! I don't watch "The Good Wife" but I think after this memoir I am going to have check out more of his acting.
This is a hard book to read. Alan Cumming is very brave to share his story so openly. A chance to appear on "Who do You Think You Are?" helped him learn so much more about his family. I thought the way he paralleled learning around his grandfather with his own experience with his father was very interesting. Don't read about this book before you start it since you really need to find out what happens for yourself. Suffice it to say that I greatly respect for Alan Cumming and am very happy that he is famous and has become successful. He truly deserves it. Read this, buy it for someone else, tell your friends about it. "Not My Father's Son" is a difficult but necessary book.
Monday, March 16, 2015
I read this on the Kobo app and purchased the book from my local bookstore, Women & Children First. Keep that option in mind if you have an iPad because you can download the Kobo app and read an e-book and still support your local bookstore. Actually reading the book this way added a whole other layer to the themes the author covers. I don't understand why people say they have to read books in paper/print. I get the tactile sensation but, frankly, content is content. This book wouldn't have been any better in print. Also do I need to add another paper book to the world every time I read something? I'm starting to think no and have been trying to use the library and Kobo more when I want a book. Will I still buy books in print? Sure --- and at a bookstore!! That was a point that made me sad/mad in this book. SPOILER ALERT - after everything that happens the bookstore closes.
Other parts of the book made me laugh because they are similar to things my company produces. Let me tell you it's not that easy, or fast, to digitize content. We digitize older content and it has to be done by hand by a human because of the fragile nature of the original. Also, Google has a tendency to get bored with projects if they aren't going to make money so this idea that Google is going to digitize everything and put it online is not something I see happening. I do like the parts in the book about Google making things easier that used to be hard and I do agree with that - especially trying to do general research for travel, eating out, restaurant reviews, researching products. Again, I wish I had been able to talk about the book with the group at Newberry to hear their opinions on the changes in reading and formats. Is this a good book for someone who loves reading? I would say yes because it makes you think about favorite books or how we relate to books and the process of reading.** Is it a good book for people who like bookstores? I don't think so since it makes their future seem pretty bleak.
**In Berlin I saw a sticker at a bar for a book group that meets and everyone reads what they want at the same time and the same place. The point was to get people to make reading more social and into public with others. Interesting concept.
Monday, February 23, 2015
Thursday, February 12, 2015
I really am off to a great start with reading in 2015! The new iPad (thanks again Mom & Dad) has allowed me to start using Overdrive from the Chicago Public Library so I have lots of books on my wish list. Plus I am enjoying audio books more thanks to some wireless headphones. I figure I can listen to books while I knit to "read" more and so far so good! I also enjoy listening to audio books while I'm cooking and now I don't have to worry about chopping a headphone cord in half!
Here is how 2015 has started for me -
Here is how 2015 has started for me -