The Spin Cycle this week is books. Holy Crapola. How to narrow THAT down into a single post?
I love books and have since I was a little girl. I remember reading thick paperbacks in elementary school that were discarded by my mom or older sister when they were finished with them. Of getting so lost in other worlds that I felt completely transported and of being able to tune out the low roar of a noisy family of five to the point that I furthered my reputation as a loopy child.
I love nothing better than a book that can take me away. Of words strung together so well that I want to read passages out loud and hear the symphony of their sound.
I know a lot of people are loving their Kindles, but me, I’m not interested yet. As much as I have come to love blogging, there is only so much free time in a day and blogging (which means sitting in front of a computer with its migraine inducing hum of light) already has taken a lion share of the time I used to spend reading books.
I love the feel of a book. Of curling up with a good book in a favorite chair, or in bed, or under a tree, or in a beach chair.
I love libraries and bookstores; they are spiritual places for me. While attending the University, I remember walking through the stacks of books on a less trafficked floor, of stopping and selecting something that looked and felt ancient and sitting down on the cold floor and reading it. Carefully turning the pages, caressing the hard cover, and wondering who else had held that same book and where were they now…
While in Boston on a family vacation in the summer of 2007, my daughter and I found a bookstore that specialized in rare and old books. We spent a few hours in the narrow confines and steep stairways reading passages from books that had once been used by students at Boston University, Harvard, and MIT. Sharing the names and dates we found inscribed inside the covers of the books.
I keep my favorite books. There is the idea that I will get back to the book again someday. Sometimes I don’t, or at least haven’t yet. Often when I reread a book years later I am a different person and therefore the book seems different too. I enjoy being a living example of Rosenblatt’s theory of Reader Response.
This summer I bought the book Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver. I decided to reread her book Prodigal Summer first – a kind of warm up. I first read Prodigal Summer years ago in my book club. I had remembered loving it (I also loved Poisonwood Bible). After 10 years in book club, reading a book a month, and getting together with a group of women friends for wine and food and friendly discussion, I don’t remember all the books. So I know that one that stands out after years and 100’s of other books read must have been a gem.
And it is. I’m loving it even more this second reading and taking my time enjoying beyond the story, the brilliance of her writing. I especially love the way she works the cycles of nature into the sensuality and sexuality of the characters.
I leave you with a few passages…
She learned to tell time with her skin, as morning turned to afternoon and the mountain’s breath began to bear gently on the back of her neck. By early evening it was insistent as a lover’s sigh, sweetened by the damp woods, cooling her nape and shoulders whenever she paused her work in the kitchen to lift her sweat damp curls off her neck. She had come to think of Zebulon Mountain as another man in her life, larger and steadier than any other companion she had ever known.
But here and now spring heaved its randy moment. Everywhere you looked something was fighting for time, for light, the kiss of pollen, a connection of sperm and egg and another chance.
It was the body’s decision, a body with no more choice of its natural history than an orchid has, or the bee its needs, and so they would both get lost here, she would let him in, anywhere he wanted to go. In the last full hour of daylight, while lacewings sought solace for their brief lives in the forest’s bright upper air, and the husk of her empty nylon parka lay tangled with his in the mud, their two soft-skinned bodies completed their introductions on the floor of her porch.
For more spins on books, head on over to Jen at Sprite’s Keeper.