When I’m Not Writing, I’m Reading

Saramago Quote

One of the charges of any would-be writer is to read. I accept this challenge with resolute dedication, especially when it comes to reading books I would have liked to write.

You can imagine, then, that at any given moment, my bedside table has dozens of books stacked on top of it, waiting to be read.

Or, in some many cases, waiting to be finished.


LaRose 2

I started LaRose  in 2017? Right when it came out in 2016? I’m no longer sure. I adore Louise Erdrich. She is one of my favorite writers. The way she can craft a story… the immediacy of the landscape in her books… But LaRose is hard for me to read. A man accidentally shoots and kills a child. As penance, he and he wife give their own child to the other’s parents, to raise as their own. A striking premise for a book, no? It’s beautifully written but it fills me with such grief and horror that I keep picking up the book and putting it down again.

My husband gently suggests that I might want to give it up, at least for now. Let it wait on our bookshelves rather than in a teetering stack on my nightstand. And I HAVE given up on books, on occasion. Sometimes, a book just isn’t right for me. Sometimes it’s not the right season in my life for it to resonate. Sometimes it’s just not my style.

(Although I haven’t yet figured out exactly when to say I’m giving up.)

LaRose 1

Should I shelve it? I don’t think so.

I’m certainly not yet ready to give up on LaRose. I want to finish it. So it waits for me, on my nightstand, among a rotating cast of characters.

Bedside 1

Not pictured: bedside table

Well, some rotate. Others stick around. I’ve finished the Jane Harper book– engaging plot, relatable and complex characters, enormous and formidable setting in the Australian outback – and it will go back on my shelves sometime soon, when I’m ready to part with it (not yet). I haven’t yet begun Amy Tan’s memoir, Where the Past Begins – some books, you need to save… because you know you’ll gulp them down too quickly once you get started. And I have yet to read Wolf Hall, which I recently added to my collection after reading Mantel’s absolutely perfect short story collection, The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher.

Believe me when I say this is just a small handful of the books I’m surrounding myself with these days!

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