I didn’t get into too much trouble growing up. If I did, it was because I was negligent in my chores. My father and I used to get into screaming matches about how much I hated the housework, and I insisted that there were far better things to be doing than the dishes.
Once, my father and I were into one of our usual rows about how I hadn’t cleaned my room when I was around 15 and all I could say was: “Dad! I was reading a book, not doing drugs, not drinking, not sneaking out. You’ve got it pretty good right now!”
He left me alone.
Until I walked downstairs carrying a completely different book than I was reading earlier in the day.
“Yeah, Pop, but I got this one from the library today, too. It looked good and I didn’t want to wait to finish the other one to start it,” I explained.
He rolled his eyes and grumbled about finishing what you start, focus and concentrating on one thing at a time – all of which I ignored and started reading.
I thought I’d gotten better about reading one thing at a time until I found myself with a bit of spare time today and wandering around the apartment wondering what to do.
After a particularly rough morning, I’d checked my mail to find a gift from a friend and mentor who knew I was looking for something engaging and interesting to read.
“I don’t usually judge books by the covers, but in this case, I’ll make an exception,” I wrote in my thank you email. The title seemed pertinent today, and when I cracked it open and got a few pages into it, the rough morning turned into a better afternoon, having been reminded that my friend and mentor: 1. is also a writer and understands what writers like to read; 2. somehow has an answer for everything – even if in book form.
Resting on the arm of the couch, I found this:
At 15, I loved King Arthur. I stumbled across this Barnes & Noble “classic” edition by Howard Pyle a few weeks ago and had to own it. I’ve never read this particular King Arthur work, which was surprising, but I know just by looking at the book and its odd illustrations and silver-lined pages that my 15-year-old self would have loved it. In fact, the 24-year-old version does, too.
What I love most, though, is the way that Pyle addresses his audience.
This page stuck out to me. Here, Pyle’s somehow embodied Merlin, or maybe even Arthur himself, all while relating the Sword-and-the-Stone Incident to everyday life for his audience. It’s a simple word of encouragement from The Once and Future King. Thank you.
In the kitchen, I found my birthday gift to myself. Why I left it in the kitchen, I’ll never know.
I haven’t gotten very far just yet, but when I saw some young Kerouac writing on the shelves at Barnes & Noble on my birthday, I absolutely HAD to own this, too. I like Kerouac. I am constantly intrigued by the way he sees things, his inherent need to GO and DO and SEE. I love the way he thinks, ignoring the drugs, but the way he can phrase a goodbye so simply and profoundly leaves me…saying goodbye to Kerouac myself. And then hello again in Manhattan here. More to come on this later, I’m sure, especially because I’ve just seen Walter Salles’ version of On the Road.
While checking under my bed for my keys, I found a brick. Or, rather, this guy:
I’ve been reading this for the better part of a year now. It is quite literally the history of soccer as we know it in 907 pages. The truth is, it’s not a page turner. It’s something to read when I’m looking for something more analytical, historic and when soccer is on my brain (see: almost always). I originally bought it from Powell’s Books when I was interning for the Timbers, wanting to know everything I could about the industry. I have since read Soccernomics, How Soccer Explains the World, Fever Pitch and Soccer Against the Enemy, but this one is daunting and really, just long. I think I need to start over with a notebook and pen in hand to take notes.
Yesterday, while taking a visiting friend through Powell’s, my roommate, Luke, pulled me upstairs and handed me this one:
“Yeah, I knew you’d like it,” he said. I also liked that it was $9.98. This one appeals to me because I love this particular era. I spent an entire semester writing two senior theses on the Vietnam War, music and the media. This introduction begins by differentiating between “The Sixties” and “the 1960s.” Having bought it yesterday and having a friend in town, I’ve only gotten through the introduction, but this one looks good for when I’m feeling non-fictional and somehow, magically not thinking about, watching or tweeting about soccer.
They say that a person is the result of the five people he or she spends the most time with. I had to laugh when I thought of all the weird snippets of knowledge and interests I have that are embodied in these five books – and they aren’t even old favorites. This is just what I’m reading today. And tomorrow. And now that I think about it, probably the next month(s) – if we’re counting Mr. Goldblatt’s fascinating doorstop.
What are you reading? What does it have to say about you?