I've been thinking a lot recently about how reading a good book really transforms you, transporting you to another reality where anything is possible. I possess a lifelong love of reading. I estimate I've read between 40,000-50,000 books since I started at 3, and I have no intention of slowing down. People ask me how I read so quickly, and I don't know, other than practice. My childhood friends can attest that my favorite spot was under a tree reading a book, and not much has changed. I read between 60-80 books each year and visit my library weekly, often daily. There's nothing else for me that can reduce the stress of a long day. I love curling up with a good book, and emerging transformed by a totally unique perspective. These pictures from Grammarly strongly resonate with me.
I will read just about anything: board books to my daughter, my online moms' forums, Facebook, and Twitter. Literature remains my favorite, consumed in many forms: hardcover, softcover, eBook, audiobook on iPhone, audio CDs.
I'm currently listening to The Goldfinch on audio (iPhone), and I'm at part 28 of 32 approximately 1-hour sections. An unanticipated trip came up this weekend, with 5 hours of driving, and I was looking forward to the chance to listen to 5 more hours of the book. I drive best when I'm listening to an awesome book: mind engaged, eyes on the road.
The Goldfinch is a wonder, a masterpiece. Though at times some of the narrative is superfluous, at other, more frequent times, the prose is so eloquent that I feel transplanted into the lives of the characters. Without giving too much away, the main character gets into some trouble. Objectively, if I had just heard about Theo's situation, I would have an immediate distaste for him. But somehow, perhaps through Tartt's use of the first person and introducing the protagonist at such a young age, I feel true concern for Theo and his future, and like him despite his situation. The Goldfinch is the rare book that I will grieve over once I finish it, and wish for the time to reread it immediately. There's only a handful of books I place in this category, many of which I devoured in one sitting: The Handmaid's Tale, The Robber Bride, Freedom, One Day, Where'd You Go, Bernadette, The Marriage Plot, She's Come Undone. I'm sure I'm missing a few.
Literature is my most favorite art form, even more so than music. Captivating lyrics are the common thread in all of the musicians I enjoy, an otherwise seemingly random group including Ben Folds, Amanda Palmer, They Might Be Giants, Guster, and Regina Spektor.
Here's a quote from The Goldfinch I especially enjoyed, about how the way we enjoy art is so personal: “If a painting really works down in your heart and changes the way you see and think and feel, you don't think, 'oh I love this painting because it's universal' 'I love this painting because it speaks to mankind'. That's not the reason anyone loves a piece of art. It's a secret whisper from an alleyway. Psst, you. Hey kid. Yes, you. An individual heart shock. . . .A really great painting is fluid enought to work its way into the mind and heart through all different angles, in ways that are unique and very particular.”
― Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch
Look for me on Goodreads, where I try to review everything I'm reading. I also finished Maxed Out: American Moms on the Brink this weekend. A very courageous, honest story, and a must read for moms working outside the home.
I'll end tonight's musings with one last image from Grammarly.