The Period of Great Reading (and Sleeping)
I’m just coming out of what I refer to as a Period of Great Reading (PoGR). Ushered in by all of the books I had put on library reserve coming available at once, as well as a mental block on the other creative things I like to do, this time was taken up mostly by consuming words. I read. And read. And read and read and read. Novels and non-fiction, my friend’s wonderful and funny short stories, essays and articles. I read out on the barcalounger on my deck, falling asleep; on my couch, falling asleep; and in my bed, falling asleep. (It should more accurately be called the Period of Great Reading and Sleeping.) I drank cup after cup of tea (or, occasionally, glass after glass of wine). Consequently, during this PoGRaS I was up 246 times a night to pee.
Because I have no attention span — and because I read across a variety of formats (e-books, paper books, audio books) — I tend to be reading a bunch of different things at the same time, and can read more or less constantly, if I want. Sometimes, the combinations are a little strange. (Sex Criminals, Nora Ephron, and Ursula LeGuin all occupied the same weird week in June.) But sometimes, no matter how odd the pairings are, everything comes together for a wonderful, intense, moving, delightful PoGR(aS).
Below are some of my favorite excerpts from this most recent Period, which is winding down. Next up is Anna Karenina. I have a feeling I won’t be starting on a Friday afternoon and finishing late Saturday night, as was the case with Fangirl.
from The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima:
He nodded to the other Raggers. “Hey, Velvet, thanks, mate, for looking after my girlie for me. I tell you, she’s been nothing but trouble.”
As Velvet gawked at him, Cuffs grabbed Raisa’s arm and shoved her behind him, planting himself between her and the others. He pressed something into her hand, and she felt cold metal. Her knife. She palmed it and peeked out from behind his back, head spinning with confusion.
from “Pastoralia” in Pastoralia by George Saunders:
“You were torturing a cat,” she says. “With a freaking prod.”
“A prod I built myself in metal shop,” he says. “But of course you never mention that.”
from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell:
“I mean …” Levi leaned forward, hands still fisted in his pockets. “I mean, I spent four months trying to kiss you and the last six weeks trying to figure out how I managed to fuck everything up. All I want now is to make it right, to make you see how sorry I am and why you should give me another chance. And I just want to know–are you rooting for me? Are you hoping I pull this off?”
from “The Alienable Rights of Women” in Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay:
If I told you my birth control method of choice, which I kind of swear by, you’d look at me like I was slightly insane. Suffice it to say, I will take a pill every day when men have that same option. We should all be in this together, right? One of my favorite moments is when a guy, at that certain point in a relationship, says something desperately hopeful like, “Are you on the pill?” I simply say, “No, are you?”
from Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth:
“How do you do, Alex?” To which of course I reply, “Thank you.” Whatever anybody says to me during my first twenty-four hours in Iowa, I answer, “Thank you.” Even to inanimate objects. I walk into a chair, promptly I say to it, “Excuse me, thank you.” I drop my napkin on the floor, lean down, flushing, to pick it up, “Thank you,” I hear myself saying to the napkin–or is it the floor I’m addressing? Would my mother be proud of her little gentleman! Polite even to the furniture!
from How To Tell Toledo from The Night Sky by Lydia Netzer:
“I want to have sex with you,” she said, laughing to the point she was crying, and then wiping away the tears. She punched him in the chest. “Sex! I want to have sex!”
“Good!” said George. “That is super good because I want to do that, too!”
“No, you don’t understand,” she said, sniffing and pulling herself together, wiping her eyes. “I mean I want to have sex like in my vagina.” She pointed at his zipper. “That going in there,” and she pointed at her crotch. This sent her off into another gale of laughter.
“That’s great, because that’s exactly how sex is done. Exactly that way.” He was confused a little by her behavior, but in his mind the fact that she was talking and pointing at his crotch was enough to distract him from analysis.
from Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain:
Don’t think of introversion as something that needs to be cured.
from Powder and Patch by Georgette Heyer:
“You’re only a man! You’ve not our gifts! I can tell you! Why, a woman can think of a hundred different things at once, all them contradictory!”