As much as I sometimes feel like I am kind of stressed out, I have to
say that my time in NY has been filled with reading. Reading real books made
with paper and stuff. Mostly borrowed from the library. Lately I have been
searching out books of interest (using NPR as a guide) and then requesting them
on the Suffolk Library’s website. It is pretty fabulous. Whereas my dinky
library in Greenport (which I absolutely love) does not have many of these
titles, they can be reserved. All of the interesting and quirky titles I have
been interested in have been available somewhere in the library system. I get
online, find my book, reserve it and in a couple of days the library is calling
me to tell me that it is in. It is, in a word, fabulous. And in another word;
After I finished reading all of Arnaldur Indriðason’s translated books which I
totally love (thanks to Lei for turning me on to him), I found Karin Fossum. I
liked her characters and I enjoyed The Indian Bride even with its unsatisfying ending. Sometimes endings are not neat and I can appreciate that. After the crime spree of reading I was on, I tried something completely different. A Death in Spring was written by a woman from Catalonia (an autonomous community of Spain – yay wikipedia) and was originally published in 1984. It is not a casual read. It is beautifully written and as many reviewers note, is reminiscent of The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. I found the villagers odd and violent practices strangely compelling and the story continued to draw me in till the very end.
Today I began reading The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey (when the library called to say it was in, the guy on the phone said that the title just made him laugh as he was suppressing a chuckle). Bailey is stricken with a disease that leaves her bedridden and being cared for outside of her home. Her caretaker brings a potted violet into her room along with a wild snail found in the woods. The book, so far, is an interesting literary and scientific take on snails. Bailey obtains extensive books on
Darwin’s studies on mollusca and quotes from them, explaining snail slime
production and locomotion. These have tickled me pink and I know that I will
never look at a snail the same way again.
I also know that were I not on this sabbatical from my life. I would not have
read any of these books. If nothing else during these six months away, I have
been awarded the gift of time. I am on the downside of it and hope that when the
giant cogs and gears of my real life shake the rust off and start turning
again, I can somehow hold onto this slower pace. Overlay the madness with this
more reasonable pace and maybe come out with something in between. Something
infinitely more livable.