Reading With Fakename

This week I was sitting in the bank drive-through commercial lane (as I do every day), and the ultra-sweet teller whom I’ve grown very fond of, said, “Ms. Fakename, how many books do you read in a week?”  

“Hmmm”, I replied.  “Two, maybe three?”  The reason she asked, of course, is that while they complete my transaction, I’m reading. 

This week, however, I outdid myself and read four books.  You may be wondering how I have time for that, and the answer is simple…I read all the time.  I have no spare moments.  I read when I’m in line, anywhere.  I read while I’m watching TV–during the commercials. 

Many people, if not most people, prefer or maybe even require uninterrupted time to read and focus.  I can sort of remember that I used to be that way too.  I trained myself, in a sense, to be able to read in short bursts and remember the thread of the story when I return to it.  I might have to re-read the paragraph I stopped at, but then I’m off and running again.  So why do I do this?  Good question. 

I think it’s because I can’t bear to have an empty moment, where my brain isn’t working on two or three things at once.  Meditation, where the idea is to empty your brain in order to relax, would be sheer hell for me.  Needless to say, I’ve never even tried it.  I’m like that all the time.  One of the reasons I love my job is that I get to flit between one thing and another all the time.  I get to get up and move around.  Put me at a desk for eight hours a day, doing anything whatsoever (unless, maybe it was reading!) and I would go insane. 

So if I’m not reading, it’s because I’m engaged in something else that makes it impossible.  Sleeping.  Taking a shower.  Writing.  Okay…I can think of at least one activity that would engage my full attention so that I wouldn’t even want to be reading. 

Now for the books:  This week I read Aristotle and an Aardvark Walk Into a Bar (thanks to Fakesister for the tip), Michael Shaara’s The Broken Place (thanks to online friend Ptfan1 for that tip).  The latter book I found to be too gloomy and brooding for the most part, but it was well-written and had a sort of redemptive ending.  Then I read the last two books in Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins series:  Little Scarlet and Blonde Faith.  I’m quite undone by the fact that in the latter book it’s possible that Mosley has killed off Easy, but maybe not.  It’s a cliffhanger. 

Friday I went to the library and got six more books.  (If I can read four in a week, why not six?)  I was thrilled to find that one of my very favorite writers has a new book out.  That would be William Tapply.  Tapply writes crime fiction, and has also written for magazines such as Field and Stream.  His recurring main character, a Boston lawyer named Brady Coyne, alternates crime-solving with fly-fishing.  The only thing equally exciting would be a new book by Robert B. Parker. 

I got two more Walter Mosley books:  Black Betty and Gone Fishin’.  I’m really looking forward to the latter, because it’s a sort of prequel.  We get to learn how the sometimes-dangerous Easy and the always-dangerous, truly scary Mouse become friends. 

I got two more Michael Shaara books:  For The Love of the Game (thanks again Ptfan1) and The Herald, which is, of all things, science fiction.  The library did not have a copy, or perhaps it was checked out, of The Killer Angels, for which Shaara won the Pulitzer Prize.  I’ll keep looking for it, as I will Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, which is checked out. 

Finally, the latest Jonathan Kellerman novel Bones.

One reason I can read so much is in fact that I read very fast, but also, it’s because I don’t have to take a test afterwards.  There are no pop quizzes in novel-reading.  I’m looking forward to all these books with great pleasure, but I can sense guilt coming on.  Soon I’ll have to read another non-fiction book to keep up my pretense of being an intellectual.  Unless my attention becomes otherwise engaged.

7 responses to “Reading With Fakename

  1. The only thing I think will grab your attention would be the first annual Tallahassee Mountain Oyster Festival.

  2. Think harder, lol.

  3. As my father said:

    I love to do nothing all day and then rest afterwards.

  4. I don’t find meditation, which I only do while engaged in yoga, to be emptying my mind. More like actively paying attention to things other than the frenetic work-a-day whirl. Leaving those thoughts at the door, so to speak, to be picked up again later with body and mind refreshed.

    The physical relaxation comes first, then the mental relaxation. With practice, the one triggers the other.

    What things, you ask, are you paying attention to, if not the usual whirl? My breathing, my body, Bach or Mozart or a Lord of the Rings soundtrack although lately I’ve done without music. If I’m out on the patio, in the brief interlude between too cold and too much pollen, I attend to the sun and shadows changing positions, to the birds, the wind.

    The key is *attention* – give it your all. If a thought from Real Life floats in, let it float out; you can pick it up later. Feel the moment. Live the moment.

    Not exactly the sort of post you’d expect from your pragmatic, literal-minded, engineer sister, eh?

  5. The Movie rights For the Love of the Game were picked up by Kevin Costner. He produced the movie and took the lead role. He screened that movie before the FSU baseall team in Omaha at the College World Series in 1999. I was so envious of those guys. Since I love both baseball and Shaara its a no brainer for me and I have reread and rewatched many times.

    Mike cut his teeth on Science Fiction in the 50’s and I have a little paperback collection of his several stories published in different magazines named Soldier Boy
    The Herald was originally entitled The Noah Conspiracy and is also interesting and a fun read.

    Killer Angels is by far his best work . Here is the opening paragraph.

    “He rode into the dark of the woods and dismounted.He crawled upward on his belly over cool rocks out into the sunlight, and suddenly he was in the open and could see for miles, and there was the whole vast army below him, filling the valley like a smoking river. It came out of a blue rainstorm in the east and overflowed the narrow valley road, coiling along a stream, narrowing and choking at a white bridge, fading out into the yellowish dust of June but still visible on the farther road beyond the blue hills, spiked with flags and guidons like a great choped snake, the snake ending headless in a blue wall of summer rain.

    The spy tucked himself behind a boulder and begin counting flags.”

  6. FN We read differently I also frequently have 4 going but wait to see which one will grab me most and go with it. Unless its one of my favs then the world stops and I read just that.

    Dennis Lehane, Greg Iles, Thomas Harris are the best of the thriller writers I have read. I won’t let anything distract me fom these three.

    Lee Child is pretty good and Deaver has some fun stuff.

    Jeff Shaara’s WWII stuff is good.

  7. I’m quite familiar with Greg Iles…but stopped reading him after Sleep No More, which I thought was totally stupid.
    Fakesister, because I know you, I don’t find the yoga thing to be inconsistent with the engineer thing 🙂 I know you prize peacefulness in your life.

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