A Spring Reading Spree
A few years ago about this time, I went on a spring reading spree to cull the many books I had on my shelves that I had never read. I was moving and didn’t want to keep schlepping books around from place to place that I had never read and possibly didn’t even like. My little spring reading spree/cull was pretty successful and I read a lot in just a few weeks, but, unsurprisingly, I still didn’t make it through everything I hadn’t read on my shelves.
This spring, I find myself faced with a different reading challenge: I’ve been in a real, prolonged reading rut. Middlemarch was practically the beginning and end of my reading in 2016 and I couldn’t seem to get into anything else after finishing it. I read, but only lackadaisically, and didn’t finish much.
So I decided a spring kick-start was in order. If I had once plowed through a whole pile of books with sheer force of will, I would do so again! First up? Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast.
While Hemingway used to be on my no-thank-you author list because of an unfortunate run-in with The Old Man and the Sea in high school, I’ve recently been giving him a second try. And while his style isn’t always my speed (and his personality, frankly, seems totally irredeemable), I’ve been surprised to discover that his books can be pretty great sometimes.
Most recently, I enjoyed A Moveable Feast, a nostalgiamobile of a book published after his death about his early years in Paris with his first wife, Hadley. He’s as Hemingwayish as ever in Feast, which means you get him being terrible to a bunch of people, but you also get reverent descriptions of Paris, food, and the art of writing as he sees it. Plus there’s some pretty great Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald roadtrip fun. (And by “fun,” I mean “nightmare on wheels throughout the south of France.”)
Apparently, Feast has been enjoying a recent surge in popularity in France after the November attacks. Having now read it, I completely understand where that’s coming from — Feast is a beautiful piece of travel writing about a much beloved historical moment in Paris. It’s the Paris we all hold in our heads: a little bohemian, a little literary, and filled with sidewalk cafes and delicious food.
Second on my spring reading spree was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. I find I don’t really have much to say about this book other than “yes, I have read it!” For those of you unfamiliar with it, the book is essentially a combination of mystery (who killed the dog in the night-time?) and exploration of what living on the autism spectrum is like.
The bookseller at my local used book store was extremely enthusiastic about it when I bought it (usually a good sign) and I guess I enjoyed it well enough, but it wasn’t something I’d rave about to others or particularly recommend. It’s interesting, and would go nicely as a Companion Read to The Rosie Project, but it was not a stand-out read for me.
Next up on my list, I finally tackle that paragon of Victorian sensationalism, Lady Audley’s Secret!