Friday, November 13, 2009

words on a page

remedial reading
i love to read. i pretty much always have: when i was little, i remember lying in my bed with a carolyn haywood book from the school library, devouring the words and comforted by the fact that i had a stack of 4 or 5 others on the floor by the bed to move onto when the current one was over.

i hate when people brag about how early they learned to read, but -- well, whatever. i was definitely one of those kids. i actually don't remember learning at all, just being very annoyed to be going through phonics in the first grade when i was already immersing myself in ms. haywood and her friends on a nightly basis.

by the second grade i moved onto babysitters club books [okay, just lost 10 minutes of my life reading that wikipedia entry -- AMAZING how that BSC trivia sticks in your mind! i know it way better than any metabolic pathway i've ever studied . . .]. stacey, my favorite character, was a type 1 diabetic (i don't think kids HAD type 2 back then!).


in this gem of a tome, stacey eats a bunch of candy and winds up in DKA. or something like that. and now i'm going to be a pediatric endocrinologist. coincidence?? hmm . . .

ANYWAY. i wish i could say that i quickly left the trashy tween paperbacks behind, moving onto tolstoy and dostoyevsky, but that would be a big fat lie. no, i remained an avid fan of the baby-sitter's club/sweet valley high/gymnasts series books (AHH! anyone else read those?) for QUITE some time. sure, i appreciated the occasional judy blume or paula danziger novel, but what i really loved was the repetitive trash of a nice, juicy series.

by the time high school hit, my zest for reading kind of petered out. of course, i read what was required of me, even liking a lot of it. catcher in the rye, the great gatsby, and (!) zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance were probably my 3 high school favorites. the only non-school book of any sort of quality that i remember really loving was the bell jar, which fit with the 'ohhhh i'm so edgy' teenage angst of the 90s quite nicely. but with music/cheerleading/the latest nail color shades/boys to worry about, reading wasn't at the top of my activity list.

even in college, i was pretty much the same way. i read for class (and even took several english courses voluntarily), but didn't really pick up books to read for fun. it wasn't until recently that i discovered that my old hobby of picking up a book and disappearing under the covers into the words could be a wonderful, rejuvenating break from the bright and fast-paced world we all otherwise occupy.

i'm still not a prolific reader by any means. this chick is reading 100 books in 2009. i will be lucky if i finish 6! so far this year, my reading list has consisted of:

galic and sapphires, by ruch reichl. this was a gift from siobhan and i loved reading about this cheeky food critic's experiences working for the new york times.

after dark by haruki murakami. this is one of his newer novels, and i found it sexy and interesting but a little too minimal for my taste.

kafka on the shore, by haruki murakami. OH i loved this! this and a wind-up bird chronicle vie for the title of my-favorite-murakami-book-EVER. i love his characters, his bizarre story lines filled with totally mundane -- but beautiful -- imagery, and his opportunistic sense of fantasy. definitely my favorite book of the year.

the geography of bliss: one grump's search for the happiest places in the world by NPR correspondent eric wiener. i enjoyed reading this book because i'm interested in learning about the different lifestyles and mindsets in other countries, particularly as they relate to big life choices and attitudes about happiness. i also loved getting to hear more about one of my obsessions which is ICELAND (don't ask why, because i don't know). i didn't feel like this book had any big statement or fascinating conclusion, and the author annoyed me at times, but i still had fun reading for the above reasons.


a wild sheep chase by (yes again) haruki murakami. that's 60% murakami for the year thus far, and i think that ratio is about right for me! i liked this novel more than after dark, but not QUITE as much as kafka -- it was almost too weird/confusing, especially by the end. but it did have the essential murakami elements of a 'normal' main character, delicious japanese imagery, and a deserted cabin adventure.

i'm in the process of selecting my next (and likely last!) tome for 2009. will it be more murakami, or something totally different? even though i usually like to get AWAY from work with what i'm reading, i'm actually considering a nonfiction book about the ER life called something for the pain because it's been recommended to me multiple times (first by martinidad, who worked with the author back in the day). i think i might find it comforting/interesting as i finish up my rotation!

anyone else have any recommendations? also, do you buy your books or get them from the library? i tend to buy. there is something super-enticing about a smooth, untouched paperback that i just love! plus, it often takes me way more than the alloted 3 (or 6, with renewal) weeks to get through a book and i don't like the pressure. i know this isn't the most eco-friendly, but i enjoy passing books onto friends AND collecting those that i love (ie, expanding my home murakami collection).

operation break
my house is a mess and i didn't cook again yesterday! i suppose these can be considered successes in my quest for a bit of a respite from life's normal demands. i did manage to eke out a (terrible) 5 miles on the treadmill. i really hope my runs start to feel normal again soon, or this whole marathon thing might not work out so well.

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11.12.09

workout: 5 miles @ 9:13/mi, 0.5% incline on the treadmill. felt much faster and much harder than it should have. but runner's world was a good distraction.

doin' time: nope -- i got to eat for free at an applicant dinner! we went to city beverage in durham. it was really fun, but food-wise i think that place is meh. i told our applicants not to judge us by the cuisine because there are many much better options in the area! hopefully it didn't come off as horribly food-snobbish. unfortunately, no pictures -- i definitely wasn't about to start talking about the blog to everyone. although it's probably the most honest picture of what our residency program is like that you can get . . .

reading: nada. my brain is resting.

19 comments:

Denise said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I recommend a book by Jhumpa Lahiri. The Namesake is a great novel and Interpreter of Maladies (won the Pulitzer Prize and Unaccustomed Earth are both really great collections of short stories. All of her writing is about Indian-American culture and I think you would like it if you haven't read her writing.

Something for the Pain is also great - you won't feel like you are reading about work!

inmytummy said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

OMG, I remember the Gymnast books. I used to love them. Along with the others that you mentioned. My favorite BSC character was Claudia. Remember how she used to keep candy in hidden places? I tried that and got ants in my room.

I'm reading a book called The Help by Kathryn Stockett that I'm really enjoying.

haya said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

oh man. i loved all those series as a kid. especially the babysitter's club and gymnasts. (and sweet valley and nancy drew too i guess)
my mom was a teacher and her class was part of the scholastic book club, so ordering these books was pretty cheap.

marathonmaiden said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

whoa! blast from the past! i've always loved reading too. to the point where i'd rather have skipped recess in elementary school so i could read!

my favorite books at the moment are those by michael kortya, michael crichton, lee childs another fast paced thriller books

liveloveeatandplay said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I loved BSC!
I was also an avid reader from a young age. I hated Phonics and snuck books during class time.
Hmm...I second The Namesake, it was wonderful. I'm a big fan of coming of age stories...Gone With The Wind, Marjorie Morningstar and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn are my 3 favorite books ever. I also loved Time Traveler's Wife. Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, I could go on forever. I prefer to own books for sure. There's something so special about books to me

Aimee said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I was also an early reader-- I still remember amazing my mother by reading road signs out loud at the age of 4-- but didn't become a prolific reader until I met the BSC! I don't remember much about them, but I sure did love them. Stacy was my fave too!

klkasych said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I second Denise's comment, I recently read Interpreter of Maladies and it was great. My favorite book is Middlesex by Jeff Eugenides (the guy who wrote The Virgin Suicides). I'm about to have knee surgery and this post gave me some great ideas of books to read during recovery! Thanks!

Susan said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

My parents still aren't sure if I read my first book, or if I just memorized all the words and page turns, therefore giving the illusion that I could read. :)

I was a crazy avid reader until about junior high...I would read ANYTHING I could find in the library, which says a lot since we had a huge library. I somehow never got into the BSC, however. I feel like I missed out, haha.

I'm wayyyy too cheap and usually only get books through the library, but worked well when I lived in Chicago. My local library was ranked like the top ten in the country for libraries (what an odd ranking!), and they had pretty much any book/magazine/etc you could imagine. Now my puny local library leaves much to be desired. I may have to start buying books again. Or borrowing them! That's the best way to get good books...from other people who have recommendations.

Marilyn said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I just finished reading Labor Day by Joyce Maynard. Excellent!

Azusa said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

i'm happy to hear you liked the wild sheep chase! do read dance dance dance when you have a chance, it's the 4th and last book in the trilogy (i know, i said 4 books in a trilogy - HUH? let me explain sometime, over a few glasses of wine), and i think it does a fair job of wrapping (if not tying) up the loose ends.

cara said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Sarah - I totally loved BSC AND The Gymnasts!!! I remember being about 11 and having to tell my grandmother, "Um, I don't read these BSC books anymore. They're not hard enough..."

Carrie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Wow, I have not thought about The Babysitter's Club books in probably 15 years. And, Sweet Valley High books were the bomb! Once my friend and I got in trouble because we were reading one of the books where Jessica was kissing a boy and my friend's mom thought it was too racy for us to be reading. Anyway, I read all the time when I was little and now I mainly read non-fiction stuff on health and nutrition. I only read about 2-3 fiction books a year because I'm really picky about that for some reason. And, I only get books from the library, I never buy them anymore.

Chelsea said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I read all the Babysitters Club books when I was a kid. Great stuff. My two favorite books of late were The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield and Life of Pi by Yann Martel. I definitely check books out from the library. Our library has a great selection, and it's so so so much cheaper.

Meredith (Pursuing Balance) said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I used to love those books!
I don't think I can read 100 books this year, but I get through about a book a week. I definitely check mine out from the library! It's so easy now that it's gone online -- whenever I see or hear about a book that sounds good, I just go online and request it to be sent to my closest library!
I love Kristin Hannah, Jodi Picoult, Meg Cabot. I just picked up a book of short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri and also Julie & Julia from the library today!

Claire said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Oh my! I LOVED babysitter club...I think an entire shelf of my bookcase was taken up by those. I didn't ever get into Sweet Valley but I do remember the Gymnast books vaguely. I remember at a friend's b-day party we stayed up all night reading the new Babysitter Club Kids (remember those?) book she had gotten. We were SO proud for staying up all night! Ha...if only I had known!

Right now I'm reading Anna Karenina. It's one of those that I wanted to read in high school but was intimidated by. It's really a pretty easy read...just long, kind of like a soap opera!

hjlongmo said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I wrote my college admissions essay about learning to read/my evolution of a reader - reminds me of this post! Can't help agree with you about buying books over the library. There is nothing more satisfying than a fresh, clean book. I also like the idea of 100 books in a year...maybe my New Years resolution?!

For you: check out Intuition by Allegra Goodman (a great piece of fiction about a doctor and resident in a sticky situation), Tortilla Curtain by TC Boyle (so sad, but so good), and most highly recommended, City of Thieves by David Benioff (wonderful story about friendship in WWII)! Hope you find a good last book(s) of '09!

Mary Clinch said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

My cousin just got me into www.paperbackswap.com, and I'm loving it. You post books you're willing to swap, and also your wish list. If someone requests a book from you, you print out a pre-addressed wrapper (with option of pre-paid postage), and mail it off. If someone has a book you want, they pay to mail to you. It's been great to have a new, virtually free book arrive every week! Highly recommend...

caryn said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Well- I love libraries. It always feels to me like you are in a free bookstore, and you can have all the books that you want. Plus many libraries allow you to keep a book for 9 weeks which should be enough time for anyone, if you are going to read the book at all.

I also think it is about time that we consider the environment when we make choices.

A good compromise would be to buy books that you know you will use again, and borrow ones you most likely will not.

Stephanie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Haha... I LOVED those gymnast books!! I thought I was the only one!

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