Thursday, December 5, 2013


Let about three weeks slide by there.  The usual--work, Thanksgiving, kayaking.  I'm a little scattered-minded at the moment with the holiday season (and I think there's a birthday in there somewhere too).  So to settle down with one topic--reading.

I know that some people are not readers--I probably read this somewhere--but I don't get it.  That's like saying some people don't need to breath.  I don't remember learning how to read--Mom read to us until we were reading on our own, and then Mike and I both read constantly.   The parental punishment of "go to your room" for any misdemeanors sort of failed when we would be told "OK, time's up, you can come out now" was met with "Let me finish this chapter."

In elementary school I annoyed the teacher by reading everything at my level (remember reading levels?  They were color coded) instead of just the minimum for moving up--then all the next level and so on until I was out and asking for more (and now I wonder why they were annoyed--but they were).   At the beginning of one year of high school the teacher passed out a "what did you do on your summer vacation" questionnaire, and it had five lines for "what did you read?"  I turned the page over and listed about 30 books.  The teacher questioned me afterwards--was this the truth?  I said it was close--there were probably more but that was all I could remember.

Reading takes you out of yourself--you can be actively learning, entertained, amused.  Wander a new land, or know more about the land you're standing on.  My reading is pretty eclectic--it's whatever grabs my fancy at the moment (I see that a movie is being made from "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty."  I've never read that, so onto the reading list it goes).

My sister-in-law Margo was wondering how I manage to read at much as I do (which to my mind, isn't enough).  After all, I am working 3 jobs, and do the spinning, weaving, sewing, kayaking, taking care of critters, etc.)   My answer was "insomnia."  Somewhat a joke--but true.  I've always had problems getting to sleep, but that's reading time.  And if I do the 3:00 a.m.  wakeup, I can lie there and fret--or turn on my little book light and read.  There's reading at breakfast (neither Bob nor I can carry on a good conversation at that hour of the morning).  There's the bathroom reading (National Geographic, Smithsonian).  Being too busy can sometimes give you reading time.  If I've finished with Appointment A, and it's going to take me 20 minutes to drive to Appointment B but I'm not due there for 45 minutes, I hit whatever coffee shop is available and curl up and take a break in between.

And that's why I started my "what I've read" list here.  Margo is organized and has her reading lists (and her movie lists) so she knows what she'd read and seen.   If I ever made such a list, I'd lose it.  So into the blog it goes.  Current reading:

As mentioned above, magazine reading includes National Geographic, Smithsonian, Spin-Off and Ply (both spinning magazines) and Wild Fibers (a social geography magazine focusing on fiber sources).

Since the last post, I've done my annual reading of "Dracula."  I also listened to several short stories by Bram Stoker while doing hand-sewing at the costume shop.

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.   Meh.  Made a better movie than a book.   I like exaggerated stories and adventure, but I'd like there to be at least one toe held in the world where the laws of physics apply.  Didn't bother to finish it.

Knitting Rules--Stephanie Pearl McPhee is a Queen of Knitting and writing about it.  Her blog is hysterical.

Knitting Yarns--stories by writers about knitting.  I'll do a blog post about knitting sometimes--it's more than knitting.  Hence the dozens of books out there about the meaning of knitting.

An introduction to The Compleat Angler (a book written in 1653 about the "meditative man's recreation).  Must read the book itself sometime.

And, currently--VARNEY THE VAMPYRE.   I have started this many time over the decades and never gotten past the first few chapters.  It predates Dracula by 50 years or so, and it's really awful.  The author was once hauled into court for plagiarism (tending to make money of Charles Dicken's popularity by writing such books as "Oliver Twiss" and "David Copperful."  The case was thrown out because the judge declared that the writing was so bad that no one would ever think it was done by Dickens.   "Varney the Vampyre"  was a penny dreadful (stories released one chapter at a time--the Victorian equivalent of a soap opera) that went on for years.

It's really badly written.  Awful  All 748 pages of it.  All the characters are stereotyped (the beautiful victim, her noble brothers, the gruff old retired admiral (who has to start almost every sentence with "shiver me timbers") and the cruel vampire (who, however, did not choose to be this way and wishes he did not need to feast upon the living)

And I'm loving it.  Best treatment for insomnia ever. 

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