Addendum to this post:
We live carefully or we live randomly. It may seem that I am looking for excuses for my reading habits, but I am not, or believe that. I just finished one of "those" books. A question that piqued my interest: If today is the day I die (no matter the age), will it be all right? Have I lived enough to say I've lived and be okay with dying? So I say: I've had an interesting life, considering all the "dry places." What would you say?
Blog begins below:
You are what you eat. We know this is true, especially for diabetics. Is it also true that you are what you read? Or, that you are like those you hang out with, you know, birds of a feather? Or, that you become like those you live with?
Case in point: My sister was married to a man who was psychologically and abnormally stressed by things in sight in "his" house. Thus, nothing, not a thing, was kept on the kitchen counters. Everything had to be put out of sight, including coffee maker, canisters, etc., even his precious bourbon bottle. My sister did not grow up with an aversion to things in sight. Things used in everyday life were kept on the counters: coffee maker, canisters, toaster, and so on. So, one summer the family had gathered at my mother and step-father's place on the lake. It was time to cook and my sister, a take-charge kind of gal, was taking over (she's like that). Guess what she said? "Oh, good grief. Look at all this junk everywhere!" and she proceeded to remove everything from the counter tops! Indeed, she did! So, I try to remind her of this at every proper opportunity. BTW, these two are divorced but you're not surprised, are you?
One more example: My brother, sister, and I grew up speaking proper grammar. However, this same brother married a girl who used poor grammar, not because she didn't know better, but because she thinks it's cool. Yes, of course, my brother sounds like her and has for years. This has always stressed me.
AS for reading: Is it true that one's reading choices reveal a person's character? Let's take me for example. I'm a retired English teacher, a life-long reader of all kinds of literature, and a collector of all kinds of books. So, what do I read?
Honestly, the books that make me happiest are the Jack Reacher books. Why? What psychological trait am I revealing by reading this series? Jack Reacher is a man retired from the military, not forced, before his regular retirement time. He's a man of high honor, even though he kills when necessity dictates. A conundrum? Not in a Reacher novel. William Faulkner used to put his plot lines on paper posted around his writing room. That way he kept up with his twisted plot lines. I think Childs must do something similar. His plots are painstakingly
detailed and reveal methodical thinking that goes on in Reacher's mind.
Another thing about Reacher: He wears the same clothes for several days and irons them by laying them out straight under his mattress. When I say mattress, I mean motel, not home, because Reacher does not have a home. He travels like the birds, going willy-nilly, and involving himself when a situation piques his sense of justice. The book is truly wishful thinking by the author. I guess such a character could exist, but not likely.
I like Reacher for many reasons, but the main one is that he is a bad-ass, not intentionally, not maliciously, but because circumstances dictate him to be. But first, he reveals his reluctance to be violent and his absolute dedication to being violent if necessary. Woe to those who dare to challenge him. As a teacher I was challenged too many times over the years and found myself in a position of non-action.
Addendum: Wow, did I really admit my true reading preference? But I do read other things. Currently, I'm reading Temple Mount by Keith Raffel. My sister and I live several states apart. We talk up to an hour daily. The other day she wanted to discuss the Temple Mount in Israel. I started googling and found this book on Amazon, so I ordered it and have read about 50 pages. I'll report later.
Books on my very ambitious TBR list (*denotes read)
- *Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox
- The Odd Women by George Gissing
- The Zen of Fish by Trevor Corson
- How to Get Your Child to Love Reading by Esme Raji Codell
- The Cod Tale by Mark Kurlansky
- In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden
- *Joan of Arc by Mark Twain
- Dag Hammarskjold by Elizabeth Rider Montgomery
- The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet by Rabbi Michael L. Munk
- Children of Strangers by Lyle Saxon
- Spiritual Writings by Flannery O'Connor
- Nightmares and Visions: Flannery O'Connor and the Catholic Grotesque by Gilbert H. Muller
- The Violent Bear It Away by Flannery O'Connor
- Flannery O'Connor's South by Robert Coles
- Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor
- Sylvanus Now by Donna Morrissey
- *Vincent de Paul by Margaret Ann Hubbard
- Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
- A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking
- The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel
- Readicide by Kelly Gallagher
- *Ruined by Paula Morris
- Say You're Not One of Them by Uwem Akpan
- Wandering Star by J.M.G. Le Clezio
- Silence by Shusaku Endo
- *The Assault by Harry Mulisch
- Kari's Saga by Robert Jansson
- *The German Mujahid by Boualem Sansal
- Western Skies by Joseph Conrad
- *The Giver by Lois Lowery
- *Imperium by Ryszard Kapuscinski