Sunday, February 10, 2013

Judging a Book by Its Lover by Lauren Leto

"Crappy paperbacks are tributes to use.  They allow for cracking the spine and folding pages and rolling the book into a purse or shoving it into a cramped airplane seat pocket.  Hardcovers always feel like a weighty, pricey possession.  Something to be cared for, with a dust jacket to keep on the book and sometimes a small, overly delicate ribbon attached to the binding to be used as bookmark.  The day I change my reading habits to preserve the appearance of my books is the day I start to die inside, for surely I'll have stopped loving to read.  My relationship is with the stories; the book is merely the portal that must be able to meet whatever obstacle come our way so I can comfortable proceed with the story."

"By the end, the book has been used up, but I'm of the opinion that a good book should wear its readability, should bear the remnants of when the owner turned the page too quickly or couldn't put the book away while cooking a meal.  I like to revisit it and find pages full of life from when I was reading the book.  Annotations, dog-eared pages, coffee stains, and pasta sauce splashes - the only torture I won't put a book through is tearing out a page;  the thought of it, missing a couple paragraphs fo the narrative or more, gives me deep anxiety."

"Happiness is a bent page."

While I'm not as hard on my books as she is, I can understand what she's trying to say here.  When given the choice, I always go for the paperback over the hardcover.  And while I try not to break the spines on my books, I do have a tendency to leave them face down on tables or to fold the corner of a page down if I don't have a bookmark handy.  I don't usually make write annotations in my books.  Instead I mark (with pencil so that it could be erased) the passages I want to remember.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Some Assembly Required by Anne Lamott

One of my favorite things to do while I read a book is to write down my favorite lines so that I can look at them later.  I have several notebooks that are partially filled with lines from books I've read.  But since I've switched over to electronically tracking what I'm reading, I figured it might be time to switch over to electronically writing down the lines I like too.  We'll see if I like it.

On her church:  "The hymns are bigger than any mistakes; you fumble around with the hymnal and sing the wrong words - sometimes I'm on the wrong verse - but the hymn expands to make room for each voice, even yours."

"They are remaking who they are, at a core level, with a third."

On meditation: "The universal mantra of the group is Baba nam kevalam, and I cannot get it out of my head. It is the most user-friendly mantra I have heard. It means: Love is all there is; everything is made of love and love is who you are, period."

"I called Bonnie again - statistically, it has been proven nine times out of ten that simply talking to a trusted person helps in most tough situations. Saying my problems out loud is the main way I am ever able to let go. People say in chipper voices, "Let go and let God," and I think, "Oh, fuck you."

"This family business can be so stressful - difficult, damaged people, time that might be better used elsewhere - yet out of that, some accidental closeness, laughter, some pieced-together joy."

On her first trip to India: "Bill tells me that in Nepal, there is a phrase, rungi-chungi-jilli-milli, which means total bombardment on ever leve, too much of everything all at once.  Every color, smell, taste, sound, and echo fills the air, hot and spicy curries, every kind of sweet, harmony and silence and horns honking."

" love your kids way too much to ever feel safe again."

On one of her friend's lives: "I loved his total devotion to and belief in family, in gathering, meeting, mourning, celebrating, and eating - and eating and eating."

"I was reminded of the Four Immutable Laws of the Spirit: Whoever is present are the right people.  Whenever it begins is the right time.  Whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened.  And when it's over, it's over."

On the meditation teacher: "And when Ragu arrived during meditation, my heart skipped.  He's a Love rock star."

"Jesus had his good days and bad days and stomach viruses.  Not to mention that on top of it all, he had a mom who had bad days and good days of her own.  She's like me and Amy and like all of us; she would have been as hormonal, too.  And she must have been jealous sometimes of the people Jesus chose to spend time with instead of her.  Jealous is such a toxic virus.  'Who are these people?  And what do they have that I don't have?'  It's pretty easy to be deeply selfish when it comes to sharing your child.  Even Mary must have been like: 'Back off!  He's mine.'"

"There are gaping holes in everything.  Life is a nice fresh batch of Swiss cheese.  (Not to self: Savor the holes, too, like the spaces between musical notes.)"

"Then, out of nowhere, I remembered something a man named Bob Earle siad years ago: that his mind wanted to kill him and try to live on its own.  And in a blink my bad trance was broken.  I said to my mind, 'You can't have me'..."

"I said what I always say at weddings; That two people fall in love and decide to see if their love might stand up over time; if there might be enough grace and forgiveness and the occasional memory lapse to hold their love together into the fullness of time.  That we celebrate the commitment to this work, the the joy, to the inevitable struggles, to the energy that is both sweet and deep that the two people exude in their love for each other.  That we celebrate our senses of humor and patience, and the greatness and cost of enduring family love."

"'And what do you do in the face of this powerlessness?  As a parent?'  'You get to be obsessed and angry,' Tom said.  'And they get to be the age they are, and act like teenagers if they want to.  There is a zero-percent chance you will change them.  So we breathe in, and out, talk to friends, as needed.  We show up, wear clean underwear, say hello to strangers.  We plant bulbs, and pick up litter, knowing there will be more in twenty minutes.  We pray that we might cooperate with any flicker of light we can find in the world.'"

Saturday, February 2, 2013

What I'm reading

This is the week of trying to finish books.  I'm in the middle of three right now.

The first is Some Assembly Required: A Journal of my Son's First Son by Anne Lamott with Sam Lamott,.  It's about the birth of her grandson and watching her son become a father.  I love the way that she writes so honestly and openly about her life and the lives of those around her.  The only problem I have with reading this book is that there are so many lines that I like to think about and write down that I have to stop a lot.  It's a library so I have to finish it soon so I can return it.

The second is Ghetto Medic: A Father in the 'Hood by Rachel Hennick.  This book is written about the author's father who worked as an EMT in Baltimore.  The stories are interesting, but a little gruesome for me.  It is one of the many free books that I have on my Kindle.

The third is Empty by Suzanne Weyn.  It's a young adult dystopian book that is about the world when the oil supply is running seriously low.  This is one of the books that I got for free from the professor that I took one of my graduate classes from this summer.  I have a stack of other young adult books that I'm slowly working my way through.

what i'm reading