Absolute Reality

“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream.” — The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson Every year I return to Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. Next week I plan on taking one of my copies off the shelf and re-reading it for the fifth or sixth time. I have read this book more than other favourites: Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Possession by A. S. Byatt, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I return yearly to Hill House. … Continue reading Absolute Reality

My Favourite Time of Year

In July I started to make my list of autumn releases I wanted to order. I placed my first order for September and beyond releases in late July. My first order came in just after Labor Day. The first three books were Transcendent Kingdom by: Yaa Gsasi, The Deepest South of All by Richard Grant and the Penguin Vitae edition of Passing by Nella Larsen. It was difficult to decide which books to order and which to wait until after they had been released. There are so many books that I want to add to my library and so many … Continue reading My Favourite Time of Year

A Lot Can Happen

This past decade has been difficult. Early on my mother suffered a stroke, while my brother was diagnosed with a rate form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Next, a co-worker committed suicide, an EF5 hit my hometown (I was hiding in the bathtub while the debris cloud swirled around the house). I started a nonprofit only to close it 5 years later (that process was a nightmare). I suffered a suicidal breakdown and for two years I slept through life. With the help of family, I weaned myself off Xanax (my psychiatrist told me to simply stop taking it) and I worked … Continue reading A Lot Can Happen

A New Year

Normally, we think of the New Year as 1 January. We think about our goals, and we start trying to add more to our lives, or remove a few things that help to make our life better. A few weeks into the year we forget and move on in the same way. Over the years I have thought of the year as being split into two: the new year and the new school year. Both are fresh starts, and with the new school year there’s always new clothes, and supplies to buy. Creating a new course schedule thinking about the … Continue reading A New Year

A Regular

They know my name, but not my face. They know my face, but not my name. They know my reading habits. Over thirty years I have watched staff turn – over and rather than going to the third floor, stepped through the ground floor street doors. I have wandered through the room with an apricot iced tea and shortbread cookie. I have sat on the floor pulling off books, sampling pages, putting the books into a pile on the floor, or back on the shelf hoping they would be waiting for my next visit. When I lived in Dallas or … Continue reading A Regular

Ink Drinker

When I moved into my first apartment, I would sit on the floor, in front of my bookcases and take out a book, open it at random and read a paragraph or two. This would continue for hours. Going to bed my head would be swimming with images from a number of different books. Oddly, I’ve only ever tasted books in this way when I lived alone. It’s not something I do when I’m living with someone. When I pull books off and taste a little here and a little there, it’s almost as if I’m inviting the characters into … Continue reading Ink Drinker

Looking Back

When I was growing up the idea of college wasn’t something that was discussed with me. Not by my family, my teachers, or my guidance counselors. It wasn’t until I was standing at the grocery store waiting to pay that a cashier, who I was on friendly terms with (she was a grade or two above me) asked about whether I planned on going to college. I said that I wasn’t sure. My father who was standing behind me, waiting until his beer was rung up, said, “Hell, yes, you’re going.” I was embarrassed, and that’s when I decided I … Continue reading Looking Back

Upon Reflection

When I set about at the beginning of the year to read all things American I did so in an effort to fill in holes in my education. I wanted to read the classics I hadn’t in school: The Great Gatsby, Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Moby Dick. I wanted to read modern classics – books by Toni Morrison, Colson Whitehead. Then there are the histories and the biographies that I wanted to delve into. Moving into October I wanted to feel that the previous nine months had deepened my understand of this country. After reading The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi … Continue reading Upon Reflection

April Roundup

Most people may remember April as the month they went slowly insane. I will view April as a lovely month, when I didn’t have to be sociable and I was allowed to stay in my bedroom reading. If there was one negative it was that my chocolate stores were all closed, and I wasn’t getting out for anything. April was an excellent month for reading. After reading The Queens of Animation I went on to read Ninth Street Women. Before this book my knowledge of women who were part of the Abstract Expressionist movement was Lee Krasner. In the 1990s … Continue reading April Roundup

Out of Isolation

It’s strange to think that for the last three weeks I have been in isolation within my home. On 12 March I came home from work and had a coughing fit. I automatically became concerned about what it could mean. The next day, Friday I had another coughing fit and was a bit warm, but it wasn’t anything that I felt should keep me at home, after all it could merely be a cold. And once I was at work I didn’t feel that bad. Then on Sunday the 15th everything changed. I was feeling awful and when I was … Continue reading Out of Isolation