Sunday, 28 March 2010

the girl who ate books

I have just finished up reading the second of two novels I've read in the past two weeks. This, for me, is quite unusual. Since having kids I barely actually read novels. And also, since discovering blogs, I barely read much else!
There was a time in my life when I would stay curled up in bed, or tucked into the corner of the couch, reading, devouring and having to finish just one more chapter of my book. Many times I'd start and finish a good book over one weekend. I'm not a particularly quick reader, in fact, sort of on the slow side - as I like to read each and every single word, and don't like to skim over words (which I know was the reading style of some of my school friends).
So, anyway. The Wednesday before last I had a few quiet moments in the city, while Mishi was asleep in her pram. I decided to visit the library. I plucked a few books off the shelves at whim; based on the name of the book, the cover illustration, and a small snippet of a randomly opened page. 
While neither of the books were amazingly life alteringly fantastic, they were both remarkably lovely to read. And had great moments in them; moments of relating to my life right now as well.
Ari was intrigued by the name of "The Palace of Strange Girls", by Sallie Day. He kept asking me about it, what was happening, what the strange girls were, where was the palace, etc. I really enjoyed the story woven in about the father who worked in the weaving cotton mills, the moments of him with his daughter telling her about the different weaves of fabric, and how he knew by touch what each one was, and how they were all made. And the pain and angst of all the mills being closed down in post-war England.

"A Box of Matches" by Nicholson Baker was a detailed, finely tuned story. Every day a middle-age man wakes up early, before sunrise, in the freezing cold of January Winter. He lights a fire, and tells us snippets and memories and dreams. He tells about the hole in his sock that irritated his toe, or about the feel of taking a big bite of apple - so big that it feels like your mouth is jammed open and you have to work out how to loosen it. Those tiny little details of life; set in the dark of the morning, he has to feel for the coffee machine and the fill the water and scoop just the right amount of coffee. And the way he feels for the coffee filters, spreading his fingers out so as to make sure he only picks up one and not all of them. Oh - I do love a story that so accurately details those miniscule aspects of our days. There is not plot as such, just each morning a new fire, with new segments. 
I do think that I will try to remember, when I'm next at the library, to find some more books by Baker. And I'm going to pass his name onto my brother, who very much likes to write, and who I know appreciates those little small tiny moments. Almost laboured over with detail and explanation.

Today Ari asked me to write a book with him. Perhaps over the holidays we will sit down together and do just that. I'm not sure what he wants it to be about, or what my role will be (as his illustrations are as amazing as his imagination and story telling skills).

***** This blog title is a reference to an excellent book we have "The Incredible Book Eating Boy" By Oliver Jeffers. {"Lost and Found" is also a beautiful book}.

***** Also, I added some beautiful images to my tumblr page this evening. Some simply glorious flowers from House on Hill Road {who takes many beautiful flower photographs}, as well as a few others. Do stop over and have a look, if you feel so inclined.

**** It's 12.24pm. It's raining now. Very slowly and quietly. The house is fast asleep, quiet and still. I can hear cars down the road driving on a wet road. I'm not worrying about the washing on the line, now wet - at least I hung the school uniforms and Mishi's favourite pants on the inside line, so they'll be dry.

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