Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Went out yesterday to the public library and to the other useless bookstore in this town, desperately hunting something, anything to read -- I'm out of things to read -- and could not find a thing.

I was always afraid this day would come. And here it is.

I'm a book junkie. I suppose y'all already know that. I need books. I have needed books since before I could actually read. One of my first memories is sitting on the floor with a book in my lap, staring down at the print, trying furiously to make the letters coalesce into meaning. I might have been three. I didn't learn to read until I was six. I remember my first word: TOY. I remember reading it, I remember how it looked, printed in yellow chalk on the blackboard. I remember suddenly being able to read everything.

I remember getting hit across the face with a math workbook by my first grade teacher, also, for reading in class. (I was reading Lassie and the Mystery of Blackberry Bog behind the workbook, and she took it amiss.)

I remember being banned from reading for six weeks by my 4th grade English teacher, if you can imagine such a thing. She thought I read too much. Yes, my English teacher. She thought all that reading I did interfered with my school work. Ah, the Jefferson Parish education system. How I loved it.

Anyway, I'm a print junkie. I need books. I've read them ALL.

No, not really. There are many, many books about football and hunting and Rush and many Western novels and many Romance novels and many books of Christian fiction and so on out there which I have never read and never will. Also many novels of Alternate history. And Men's Adventure. And shelves and shelves and shelves of the Left Behind novels.

So yes, there are, in fact, lots of books I haven't read.

But no books left I can find that I want to read.

Here's what I like to read:

Science fiction that's actually SF and not fantasy (I don't like fantasy because I can't seem to believe it, sorry, I know it's a failing, but there you are)

Mainstream fiction that isn't about some guy/woman trying to decide whether or not he/she is going to have an affair/baby/get married because? Really? who cares? I like fiction about people who actually do have lives and are actually living them.

Gay fiction/feminist fiction

Some mysteries, some westerns, but only if they're about really interesting characters and are really well written

Young adult & children's lit, same as above

So -- who has book recommendations for me?

I'm desperate. Seriously!


jo(e) said...

Well, if you like science fiction, might you want to branch out to reading non-fiction by scientists? Books by Sandra Steingraber, David Quammen, Natalie Angier, or E.O. Wilson would be a place to start.

zelda1 said...

Amy Tan's new book is good. Too bad about you not liking fantasy or I could suggest a really cool book about the knights of the round table coming back to our time on Harleys looking for the orb and fighting the mean evil druids. Oh yeah! cool beans. The Giliead by Robinson is pretty good. It's a letter written to a son by his dying father. Pretty good. STeven King had two good books, the STand and the one he co-authored with the other guy. The book is The Talisman and is about a boy who travels between two identical worlds where one world is here and is okay and the other is the evil other. I liked both of those. They were not his usual generic stuff. come to Fayetteville and do the library/bookstores. I'm sure you will find something. My second grade teacher humiliated me for writing, can you imagine. And, I spent many hours in the hall, standing, because I was reading instead of looking at my math book or history book or listening to the teacher.

Anonymous said...

A post a while back on ae's blog stirred up the same feelings in me that your post did. I, too, read compulsively as a child, and as an adolescent (though it is amazing how many of the classics I managed to skip). Later, I read less, and now I am ashamed of my reading habits.

I go on reading binges, but then I stop reading for long periods of time. Just books--I don't stop reading essays, poetry, etc. I feel terrible about it. The things I haven't read would shock you.

But back to the subject at hand. You don't mention any non-fiction, so I'll stay away from that. I finally read Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees several months ago, and I think it is a literary gem; I very highly recommend it. I haven't read her second book, The Mermaid Chair, yet, but I hear it is also superior.

Some novels from my past (sadly, there aren't nearly enough) that I think you might enjoy: Jane Vandenburgh's Failure To ZigZag (I'm going to read her other novel soon), John Dufresne's Louisiana Power and Light, Jincy Willett's Winner of the National Book Award, anything by Brian Moore (but Cold Heaven will always be my favorite), Judith Rossner's Perfidia.

Bardiac said...

I just reread Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories, and it was as wonderful as ever.

I also finally read Amy Tan's Bonesetter's Daughter, which was a real treat.

Now on to class prep, I suppose!

zelda1 said...

I love Amy Tan. I got to meet her, and she is such a delight. Her new book is quite charming too.

But, but, where are you Delgar, I am sending these brain wave messages to you, can you read them? I have a meeting planned for Monday night, it's a writer's group meeting and two of my members are out of pocket, and I can't find them, perhaps, you can give me a pointer on how to handle this situation.

delagar said...

Zelda -- I've been down in New Orleans -- but worse news than that: my email is down & won't be back up until Jan 3, so says the UAFS server. ACK! I've try to email you through mr. delagar's email.

zelda1 said...

My email is down too, my home email. It is because my pc fried and my email along with it. We are reinstalling it soon, but in the meantime, I am getting my email through my UARK account, so if you email, do so through that one. First initial of my first name in front of my entire last name plus the rest.