Monday, April 4, 2011

"So Many Books, So Little Time" by Sara Nelson

Published: 2003
Read: 2011
Genre: Memoir
Rating: 3
Review: Goodreads

Picked this up at the library after reading the inside jacket cover:
"...Sara Nelson - editor, reporter, reviewer, mother, daughter, wife, and compulsive reader - set out to chronicle a year's worth of reading, to explore how the world of books and words intermingled with children, marriage, friends, and the rest of the "real" world....She discovered that the books chose her as much as she chose them, and the rewards and frustrations they brought were nothing she could plan for."
A quick and interesting read.  My favorite chapter is called "Afterlife with Father".  Her reading of Den of Thieves by James B. Stewart brought back poignant memories of the discussions she and her deceased father had about the stock market.  Her feelings while reading:
"But what it made me feel was nostalgic and wistful and sentimental.  It reminded me yet again that what's in a book is only part of what matters; in the right circumstances and with the right history, just about any book can take you where you need to go, even if you could never have found that place on a map" and "it transported me to a dreamlike world....a world where a girl and her father sit up long into the night, drinking and arguing and talking about life."
What I can relate to:
  • Non-bookish husband
  • Loving a book by an author and buying every other book written.  (In my case, I loved The Once and Future King by T.H White which is about the Arthurian legend.  Went on Amazon and bought almost a dozen other books on this topic).
  • Staying up until the wee hours of the morning to finish a book. 
What I can't relate to (and envy):
  • Her insomnia - seems like she is routinely up at 3am and is able to get in several hours of quiet reading time before the day begins.
  • Her "library" - three walls lined with cherry shelves, filled with at least 3,000 books
  • Her "Rain Man" like ability to not only know every book she owns but where it is on the shelves.  (This would've have come in handy while at yesterday's local library's book sale as I bought a book already owned.  At least it was really cheap - only 50 cents).
  • Her job - paid to read books.
Favorite Quotes:
"Explaining the moment of connection between a reader and a book to someone who's never experienced it is like trying to describe sex to a virgin." (33)

"A books is a way to shut out the noise of the world.  It's a way to be alone without being totally alone." (39)

"Allowing yourself to stop reading a book - is a rite of passage in a reader's life, the literary equivalent of a bar mitzvah or a communion, the moment at which you look at yourself and announce: Today I am an adult. I can make my own decisions." (55)

"My books are my secret lovers, the friends I run to to get away from the daily drudgeries of life, to try out something new and yes, to get books are the affairs I do not have." (148)

"I kind of flit from one topic, one genre, and one author to another, depending on my mood and what's going on around me." (200)

Recommended Books:
  • Whitegirl by Kate Manning
  • The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
  • And Then She Found Me by Elinor Lipman
  • Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
  • Stuffed by Patricia Volk
  • The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner
  • Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue

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