Every Day I Read the Book

Not every day, but just about -- and I start to feel antsy if I don't.  Here are some recent decents:

  • The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy.  After I blasted The Road, my friend Matt convinced me to give this one a try.  I have to say that although it starts slowly, his style is very compelling and can explode into high-mindedness even in the midst of the most ordinary and banal life experiences.  Almost finished.

  • The Awakening by Kate Chopin.  I just finished this one, after one of my students wrote a term paper about it and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.  After several pretty interesting character studies, I was massively disappointed in the ending, which I had been led to believe was amazing and beautiful.  It wasn't.  Plus, although she may have been the first to write the Bored Housewife Finds Love Elsewhere narrative, I'd already heard it enough before.

  • Farm City by Novella Carpenter.  Heartwarming and inspiring narrative about a writer named Novella (I couldn't make that up) who raises bees, chickens and even pigs in urban Oakland.  And of course she has a huge garden, too.  Her personality irked me after awhile (a little too Julie and not enough Julia) but it was a pretty amazing story.

  • Food Rules by Michael Pollan.  As someone with absolutely no food rules (I don't even fast very well) I figured I could use some discipline.  There are some great ones in there (don't fill your stomach where you fill your gas tank), although following all 64 would probably make you crazy.  What about one per week?  Sounds like an interesting project.

  • A Separate Peace by John Knowles.  Also a student project that interested me enough to read on my own.  Barely started, but it seems a little slow.

Via The Week, I read on LiveScience last week that the more books a child has in his house growing up, the longer he will stay in school.  This assumes, of course, that the books are read and used, but I think one generally follows the other.
For instance, a child born into a family that had only 1 book but was otherwise average in parents' education, father's occupation, GDP, and similar variables, would expect to get 9.4 years of education themselves. Another person from an otherwise identical family with 500 books would expect to get 12.6 years of education (a senior in high school has 12 years of education), the results showed.

For years, educators have thought the strongest predictor of attaining high levels of education was having parents who were highly educated. But according to the findings, a good-sized book library is just as good as university-educated parents in terms of increasing education level.

And of course, if they're organized like mine, they can be part of your decor, too.