Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Time for reading

I feel so lucky to have time in my life for reading. Without the pressures of having to get to work every day I'm able to sit in the morning with a cup of tea and read for up to an hour before my work ethic forces me to put the book aside. And again in the afternoon or the evening if there's a space in my day I no longer feel guilty for opening my book and reading some more.

I've always been a compulsive reader and have been part of a book club for more than fifteen years. I've read hundreds or maybe thousands of books but unfortunately I only remember a few of them. If someone asks me for what I've read recently I usually draw a blank. So I thought it might be a good idea to put a list of books I've enjoyed on this blog.

Right now I'm reading another novel by Geraldine Brooks, who is an author I recently discovered. I read her first novel, "Year of Wonders, a Novel of the Plague" while we were in Mexico and now I'm reading "March," which is another piece of historical fiction. This book is told through the voice of Mr. March, who is the absent father in Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women."

Mr. March is an idealistic preacher and abolitionist who doesn't drink alcohol or eat meat, who tells of his experiences in the south during the civil war. This tale draws me in as it reveals the changes that the country and its slavers and freed slaves are going through--not to mention the changes in Mr. March. The book is at times disturbing in its images of the treatment of the slaves. Having just read "The Book of Negros" with my book club in November, I find this one adds even more to my understanding of the appalling way supposedly civilized people viewed Blacks as less than human. Geraldine Brooks was previously a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal in Bosnia, Somalia and the Middle East. She has a keen eye for detail and tells Mr. March's tale in a revealing and evocative way.

Don't worry--I won't be "reviewing" every book I read, although from time to time I might talk about one I've particularly enjoyed.

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