Book Report: JanuaryRound-UP

February 2, 2023

I was in a bit of a reading slump towards the end of January. It may not look that way on paper, but I rejected several books I started and just couldn’t immerse myself in what I thought I wanted to read. Why was that I wonder? Is it because the first books I read this year, which I wrote about in earlier posts, were so good, and finding something to meet that quality just didn’t happen? Or was I simply preoccupied with other tasks? and activities that took lots of energy? Or am I building energy for something new? Am I in some sort of shifting sands time?

I’m not sure it matters, for I still read a good pile of books.

During the deepest part of COVID many people who had considered themselves devoted readers had a hard time focusing on books. That didn’t happen to me. There have been other times in my life, however, when I’ve not been able to concentrate on reading in the way that had always been normal for me. Mainly, those have been times of grief and loss, and I am paying attention to that.

January’s Last Two Books

  1. I decided to re-read Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway. I can’t remember the first time I read it, but I think it was sometime post-college and probably early motherhood years. I have a vague memory of immersing myself in her books then, experiencing especially the power and relevancy of A Room of One’s Own. I often think of that when I walk up the stairs to my garret. What a privileged person I am. This time I read Mrs Dalloway for the beauty and breadth and depth of the language. Her writing makes me very aware of the importance of commas! This is a book I wish I had studied in a class, as a way to explore the layers and the layering of characters and the times they lived in.
  2. Bomb Shelter, Love, Time and Other Explosives by Mary Laura Philpott is a book of essays. Philpott characterizes herself as a worrier, but at the same time someone who believes that “as long as she cared enough, she could keep her loved ones safe.” So much for theories: Philpott’s teenage son is diagnosed with epilepsy. And life goes on in all its joys and sorrow, fears and acceptances.

There will always be threats lurking under the water where we play, danger hiding in the attic and rolling down that street on heavy wheels, unexpected explosions in our brains and our hearts and the sky. There will always be bombs, and we will never be able to save everyone we care about. To know that and to try anyway is to be fully alive. The closest thing to shelter we can offer one another is love, as deep and wide and in as many forms as we can give it.

p. 268

Now it is time to go through my TBR list and request from the library whatever most tempts me. And I will stand in front of one or more of my own bookshelves and listen to a call, “Reread me!” I’ll let you know what rises to the top.

An Invitation

What kind of a reading month did you have? I would love to know.

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