Thursday, January 29, 2015

Reflection: Being a Two-fisted Reader

Back in college, the thing to do besides going to classes was to go downtown to the bars. I use to go with my roommate on Thursday nights for the drink specials (Buy One Get One Free).  We would sit at the bar and savor the flavor of one of the BOGO drinks unlike the red-face guys standing in the corner with a beer in each hand laughing and talking with their friends.  The Two-fisted Drinkers (which I heard the guys refer to each other) would first guzzle the beer in their right hand and then their left until they were both empty.  The look of disappointment would gloss over their face.  They would sway back and forth slurring their words on their way back to the bar. Obvious, they did not need another round but insisted on it and the bartender would oblige.

Personal library
Photo by Sandra Proto
Just thinking about this reminds me of reading two books at once. Even though I am not like the guys who are two-fisted drinkers, I usually only have one book in my hand but I go back and forth reading two.  My reason for doing this was to alleviate boredom from reading one kind of book.  I have an extensive personal library that consists of 300-plus books.  Yes, not only am I a Two-fisted Reader but a Book-a-holic.  I have scavenged book stores, library sales, thrift shops, online, and on the streets (yes, I found discarded books on the street and adopted them).  My library has an array of books from Shakespeare to self-published authors and I usually read a fiction and a non-fiction book at the same time (I switch back and forth on my mood).  If I am stressed, I read a fiction book and escape into someone else’s world or read a couple of poems from a poetry book and get lost in the imagery.  If I felt very studious, I would dive into a non-fiction book of essays or history to wake me up. Whenever I read; I totally emerge myself.  Sometimes I would read a passage three times to let it sink in.  But, what I noticed about my reading habits when I was reading two books at once was that it made me a much slower reader than usual.  I did not read all the books that I was hoping to read in a year (this of course does not include the numerous picture and chapter books that I read to my daughters before bed).  Basically, my To Read List was at a stand-still.  

Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge
So, being a Two-fisted Reader is a little problematic, and this is why I vowed to only read one book at a time.  No longer will I over indulge and become inebriated with words that stifle my goals.  I will nurse one book to feel the impact of its meaning and reflect on it.  This is not an easy task.  I already slipped a little by reading the beginning of the first chapter of my next read (but I did stop myself).  Right now, I am reading The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss by Arthur Agatston but here are some of my other books that I am planning on reading this year:

THINGS FALL APART tells two overlapping, intertwining stories, both of which center around Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first of these stories traces Okonkwo's fall from grace with the tribal world in which he lives, and in its classical purity of line and economical beauty it provides us with a powerful fable about the immemorial conflict between the individual and society.

The second story, which is as modern as the first is ancient, and which elevates the book to a tragic plane, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo's world through the arrival of aggressive, proselytizing European missionaries.

Inés of My Soul by Isabel Allende
Born into a poor family in Spain, Inés, a seamstress, finds herself condemned to a life of hard work without reward or hope for the future. It is the sixteenth century, the beginning of the Spanish conquest of the Americas, and when her shiftless husband disappears to the New World, Inés uses the opportunity to search for him as an excuse to flee her stifling homeland and seek adventure.

Sonata Mulattica by Rita Dove
The son of a white woman and an “African Prince,” George Polgreen Bridgetower (1780–1860) travels to Vienna to meet “bad-boy” genius Ludwig van Beethoven. The great composer’s subsequent sonata is originally dedicated to the young mulatto, but George, exuberant with acclaim, offends Beethoven over a woman. From this crucial encounter evolves a grandiose yet melancholy poetic tale.

A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver
With passion, wit, and good common sense, the celebrated poet Mary Oliver tells of the basic ways a poem is built-meter and rhyme, form and diction, sound and sense. Drawing on poems from Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, and others, Oliver imparts an extraordinary amount of information in a remarkably short space.

My goal for this year is to read ten books but hopefully I can stay focused and read more. 

Let’s see what happens;0)