Saturday, September 14, 2002

Reading books
Jen’s brewing blog is so nice and comfy, it's like coming home at the end of a long cold day and sinking into a favorite chair.

A few days ago, there was a lovely post over at Jen’s about going back and reading books you read as a child. The post had a nice comment thread, too. I was reminded that a well-known Israeli editor of quality children’s books once said in an interview that he never reads books written for adults because children’s books are so much more optimistic.

Jen’s post and the comments made me nostalgic for books I haven’t read for a while, such as Gerald Durrell’s wonderful ”My Family and Other Animals”, although I actually read it first as an adult. The only thing is I think I’ve got it in English somewhere but I can’t find it. I’ve got our Hebrew copy handy, but I dislike reading books written originally in English in Hebrew translation and vice versa, because I’m forever trying to translate it back, in my mind.

I don’t have time to read books at all, any more. Not long ago, I cleared the pile of books that had amassed by my bed and put them all back on their shelves. Now there’s a new pile growing ever higher. I’ll probably tidy it back on the shelf unread, eventually. You understand these are all books I really want to read. I’m a slow reader, and blogging means I’m reading more news than is healthy, but no books. Books are relegated to the minutes before I drop off to sleep at night. So I never read more than a few sentences a day.

Optimistic books are so good for you, I think. I read anything of Jane Austin’s I can get my hands on, over and over again. Say what you like, beside them being a joy to read, the heroine always gets her guy, and they always live happily ever after. And I love murder mysteries. They are often just as optimistic as children’s books. They may be gory, sometimes, but the good guys always solve the case and catch the bad guys. I’m just hooked on that catharsis at the end, what can I say?

Oh, I get my share of “good” literature, and I usually make my way through quite a lot of non-fiction. But there’s nothing I love more than curling up with an old familiar favorite. So I think I’ll go to bed now, and read another two sentences on the first page of “My Family and Other Animals” in Hebrew, before I drop off.

Or should I read the first few sentences of “What Went Wrong?” by Bernard Lewis that my parents bought me as a Rosh Hashana gift? Decisions, decisions.

Maybe I should just go to sleep? I can never remember which two sentences I read the night before, anyway, so I end up reading them again and again.