A Malady of Sorts



I find myself buying more books now that the library is closed. More expensive than merely borrowing—my addiction to reading has been encouraged by people who gave me gift cards to Chapters for Christmas. To those people, I am ever grateful. The recipient of about $100 in gift cards over the holiday season I was like a kid in a candy shop, and thus have several volumes lined up on the table next to my bed just waiting to be read.

My reading addiction is a true affliction, but one that I do not want healed or resolved or in any way fixed. I am content with this malady of sorts, but it is getting a little out of hand right now, and I have to settle down and try to read one book at a time. My curiosity gets the better of me, and I find myself fully ensconced in several books right now. So much so, that when I pick one up and start reading it where I left off, I sometimes have to reacclimate myself to the story. In order to do this, I find myself reading a couple of pages before I start to get the gist of the story again. It generally does not take long for me to be back in a particular author’s world again.

Since writing the first two paragraphs a couple of days ago, I have managed to finish one of my novels. I finally settled in and committed myself to solely reading “Faithful”, a novel by Alice Hoffman. The book is not one for the faint of heart—it takes the reader on a 10-year ride, taking the main character from a troubled teenager to a woman. Fraught with life challenges, the book proves that no one escapes this life unscathed, but if we are lucky, we get through—and sometimes we overcome our challenges, or at least learn to live with them. What I particularly liked about the novel is that even when it reached what one assumed was its denouement (a fancy word for ending) the book was not over until it was over. There was more, and the more was as satisfactory as the assumed ending. So many authors do not wrap up all the boxes they open in a novel and leave you wondering. Every box was wrapped up and tied with a bow by Hoffman. And yes, I would recommend this book as an exceedingly good read.

I have also started reading another book which challenges my brain cells—and sometimes I do not feel quite up to the challenge. But I am persevering. Called “A Solemn Pleasure”, it is a book of essays by Melissa Pritchard and its very thesis is called “The Art of the Essay”. I have often thought of this column as an essay of sorts, but compared to Pritchard, I am just dabbling. The Foreword should have warned me as to what I was getting into, but instead of being scared off, I took up the challenge to “lean in” and learn what the author was offering. The writer of the Foreword, Bret Anthony Johnston said that “We don’t write despite the suffering in the world. We write because of it.”

He advises the reader of “A Solemn Pleasure” to “notice how often you find yourself leaning toward the pages. I did it so often my neck hurt. In fact, this ache—like each of the powerful essays—is still with me. It’s a reminder. Each time it flares, I remember one of Pritchard’s trenchant (incisive, penetrating—yes, I had to look it up—I love a book that makes me look up words) sentences. No matter which sentence I recall, it translates to the author beckoning. Look here, she’s saying. Come closer. I’ve got something to show you. Something you need to see.”

“It translates to the author beckoning.” What a lovely sentence, but it is the true motivation of all authors worth their salt—they are trying to entertain, to show, to educate, to bring something to light that was in the shadows far too long. I have read five of the essays thus far, and I am proud of myself for sticking with it, for I do have to occasionally look up words, or think more deeply about what she is saying. But sometimes a light goes on, and I remember that life is made up of all sorts of things—it is not about just what we can see, touch, hear, taste and smell. It is also about things we believe. Faith. And that faith takes far more strength than just experiencing life superficially. Some authors make you delve uncomfortably below the surface. Pritchard is one of “those”.

Published in: on January 23, 2017 at 3:33 pm  Comments (7)  

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. My dad got a total of 6 books for Christmas, when I was a child I never ever saw dad read a book, now he reads all the time

  2. I like your addiction….you can always suggest a good book for me to read!

  3. I’m very sad your library closed. Very.
    I share your addiction. A solemn Pleasure sounds interesting.

  4. What a coincidence – I also received a total of $100 in Chapters gift cards for Christmas :). I, too, ordered a pile of books, a couple of which have arrived already and a few more that are preorders. My TBR shelves are full, and I still keep adding to my list of books to look for in 2017. What a wonderful addiction. I wouldn’t have it any other way :).

  5. Melissa Pritchard – love that book!

  6. I always seem to be reading more than one book at a time. I like the variety. I like the options always being open. Like a good party, the more the merrier!

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