March 22, 2009

I'm So Embarrassed

More than a month since I've blogged ... how awful. And herewith a rambling, somewhat on-topic post:

Generally speaking, I don't do anything in moderation. More often than not it's all or nothing. I read hundreds of books when I lived in Paris and I'm quite certain I haven't read a dozen since I've been back.

I've always been a pretty good reader. I don't know what the problem has been other than I just haven't felt like it. Some of it is the narcotic lure of television, without a doubt. The rest, I suppose, is that for the last year my job has been reading for hours at a time, and my brain was tired.

This weekend I was invited to join a book club and I hope to change all that. The group does not place unrealistic demands on me -- just one book every six or so weeks. But I think I'm ready to get back in the groove. When I'm reading a good book -- and I just finished the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society -- I'm one of those people who hates to put it down. Who reads a page in a spare moment, or reads while walking to work or stays up too late in the hopes I can find out whodunnit or whatever.

This group is based in L.A. and the Valley, and my cousin Azar invited me. I was worried that it would be too high-brow for me. Her mother has a book club, and the list of books for that club is daunting. And I am pretty low-brow. Not so low that I think Sandra Brown belongs in a book club (true story, circa 1997) but low enough that I hope to avoid non-memoir non-fiction and Holocaust books. And books I should have read in college (ie Dickens).

I like that a book club is more than a book discussion. It's a group of women who get together for brunch and just chat. If everyone likes the book, the conversation morphs into all sorts of things. If they don't like the book, well that's fine, too -- more to discuss. This meeting had an attorney, a Montessori teacher, a social worker, a county health worker and an ex-journalist. Yes, I think I will always define myself that way.

I haven't gotten together with a group of women (who aren't all related to me) in a very long time. I miss it. I might not have a lot in common with these women (yet -- I just met them) but reading the same book is a start.

Our home is filled with books. Most of them are Paul's, because mine from before Paris are packed up (in the garage, I hope, of my fabulous sister-in-law) and mine from during Paris didn't make it to California. That being said, we have four large book cases that are full, and will likely add more as needed.

On the way to getting myself to the book club, I had to find the book. And two visits to the bookstore and one to the library later, I had it. But I also rediscovered, for the umpteenth time, how many goodies there are to read out there. I love browsing at the bookstore. Love love love it! And I found Michael Chabon's "The Yiddish Policeman's Union" on the bargain table for $6.98. (And, as it turned out, I had enough money on various BN cards in my wallet that the book cost 44 cents)

I suppose I've been a bit frugal lately; buying a book feels like a bit of a luxury. And if I'm not flying somewhere or going on vacation -- neither of which is happening anytime soon -- it definitely feels indulgent. But the new library card will take care of that.

When I walked into the library, which is halfway between my home and my work -- that is to say two blocks away!! -- I felt happy. I haven't had a library card since the '90s and it was time, I think, to go back. I filled out the form and they will mail me my card.

So my very late New Year's resolution is to read more and read more often. To turn off the television (or, more accurately to put away the laptop) and pick up a book.

Wish me luck.

1 comment:

Sky Guy said...

Good luck! I've hit a dry spell with reading recently, too. Had a great run a couple years back, but these days most books are due back at the library before I get through them. I've got that "standing in front of the fridge when you can't decide what you're hungry for problem" except it's in the library with books.