Saturday, January 28, 2012

When do you read?

I love to read - certain things - but finding the time to do so uninterrupted is a challenge.  Right now in my life, reading is limited to the sacred space of my bathtub before bed, then in bed, although that is usually (hopefully) eventually interrupted by sleep.  If I remember to bring the book, and I don't have a lot of work, I can get some reading time while waiting for my daughter at her various dance classes.  But this is the one way in which I envy those with a nice train commute, all that time to just read.  I crave more reading time but it is hard to find.

I found my way to crime fiction as an escape.  As lapsed historian, non-fiction (books) still sends shivers down my spine.  The need to ENGAGE is too compelling, and it ruins the experience.  As a lapsed romantic, or maybe just a grown-up, I just don't find anything with a dominant love theme to be that interesting. Sci-fi and fantasy just feels too weird, although I did adore Harry Potter and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy (read with my son).  The former is fun, and of course if you are an anglophile is bound to please.  The latter is so beautifully written as to remind you what schlock so much children's literature is.  My son (11) reads voraciously, fiction, non-fiction, science, fantasy, math, you name it (girl books excepted).  Picking up something like Pullman's books, or The Lord of the Rings, is to be reminded of what a really splendid writer, with a fine command of English, and sense of how words can elevate the story, can do.

So that left me with historical fiction (mostly blech, see need to engage above), and crime fiction.  One notable exception to the former:  the seafaring novels of the late great Patrick O'Brian.  Aubrey and Maturin are the Bryant and May of their genre, yet so much greater in their presence and actions.  They remind us that for all of our spectacular advances in the 21st c., the past may well have been a more heroic time to live.

1 comment:

  1. Historical mysteries for the most part; those set in the UK or Europe. But am open to anything.