Sunday, April 23, 2006

Competing goals

I was realizing today that the two things I would really like to do more of in my life--get more exercise and read more--are definitely in competition. It's pretty hard to exercise and read at the same time. I have, on a few occasions, paced around my apartment while reading, but that is pretty boring. It can also be difficult if I am reading a big hardcover book, but maybe that is a good thing, building muscle.

I did combine these two goals in a manner of speaking the other night--I walked to the bookstore with a friend. I have been doing a lot better about buying books lately; I have read nine books and most of a tenth since the last time I bought books. And, I only bought 5 books this time, so I am still ahead. However, I still have 54 books on my list of books-to-be-read, and I am sure there are still books on my shelf that are not on the list that I have not read. It's almost enough to make me want to become a hermit and spend all my time reading to catch up. Next time Mandy asks me to go to the bookstore, I am going to say no!

Yeah, right.

My current book is The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova, and it is taking me forever. I have been reading this book for about 2 weeks; my normal pace is 2 books per week! Part of the problem is that it is a very long book (642 pages), and I am kind of in a reading lull at the moment. Also, it is about Dracula, which is not my favorite subject. And a LOT happens in this book. It is going back and forth to about three different (relatively modern) time periods, plus all the stuff they are learning about in the 15th century. I hope to finish this today.

Before this, I read The Russia House, by John Le Carre. What a great book! My friend Michael said that he was surprised that I was reading a spy thriller, and I told him that while I do like spy thrillers in general, I think it is a mistake to think of John Le Carre as just a writer of spy thrillers. He is a great author who happens to write spy thrillers. His prose is almost lyrical and just a joy to read. The story is good, too, but you can't help but notice that his writing skills are definitely a cut above the general run of successful authors--which is already a pretty high level.

6 comments:

TC said...

Audiobooks on my iPod. Makes me WANT to go walking...

Susan said...

I thought about you when I was posting that, TC, but I don't have an iPod...maybe I should get one.

Michael said...

"Surprised" just seems like too strong of a word to describe my thoughts on you reading John Le Carre, but I'll be damned if I can think of a better word.

Part of the surprise comes from the fact that you so rarely mention the "spy" thrillers. I hear about Ms. Grimes a lot, but Le Carre almost never. And "Russia House"... considering that that was a movie with Sean Connery and Kim Bassinger a number of years back, I figured that particular novel would have popped up on your radar long ago.

And speaking of listening to books... Tam and I had a discussion prior to the MP3 era on whether Books-on-Tape should count on the list. I think ultimately we counted them so that she could keep up with me, but I still maintain that it's not reading.

Audio impared,
Michael

Michael (again) said...

Oh...and one more thought....


I'm STILL reading the damn "The Historian"! Started it in early April after knocking through a small number of short stories.

Susan said...

Oh my gawd, I cannot believe you mistook Kim Basinger for Michelle Pfieffer. Pfieffer is better than Basinger in almost every way that I can think of. Kim Basinger could never have done that part!

And I don't really base my book reading on movies. I did see that movie, though, and liked it.

Michael said...

Kim? Michelle?

Close enough -- they're both skinny blondes.