Both books above have been highly recommended multiple times. These two will be day time reading books during the 4-5 hours in the morning/noontime when my brain's all the way fired but not yet needing extra kindling every couple of hours. I need this 3-5 times a week to keep me grounded word-wise beyond fictionland as I'm writing it. One of my covid-based introspections as the third wave hits relates to how I went into the whole thing last winter with this base-line necessity mentality: gather ONLY what you only-need at a subsistence level. To the point where my first round shopping purchases were almond powder, garlic, ginger root, and compostable bowls. Period. Scaling upwards a ponderous increment at a time was a little mean streets in application for my personality's resiliency factor but then I got into this thing of loosening up in other ways but actively seeing how long I could go without buying any books.
Any time I got a recommendation or just saw something that interested me I'd grab something unread and read it instead. This kept me happy until spring. At that point I stacked up all the books I hadn't yet read in the house and here in the studio. This makes it sound a lot more like fictionland where this character - Trevor - has an undeniably serious Book Problem. Here in real life the overflow was and now remains containable. It's evolved and amplified sufficiently since this time last year. Currently I have 8 unread books in the studio - 5 of which are large scale art books of a sort best read and studied over time so that's what I've been doing with them for a few years now at the drip-drop super slow level.
Otherwise there are probably 20 unread novels and non-fiction books scattered throughout the house itself. I stocked up once I realized THERE IS NO PLAN and thus here I am prepared to live in the kind of cancerian always-home cocoon that I used to work hard to have the kind of retirement where that was my own tiny little personalized plan 85% of the time. It's just a 'way different cancerian mood swingalong kind of a thing when it's enforced and everything that's hanging in the balance is constantly making itself known.
For years I would justify this kind of recurring stash build-up as prep for a book reading emergency. I mean I've relied on some form of this excuse for periodic book gathering since I was in jr. high and had my first job. At a library. Where all the other nerd-girls who worked there spent all their money not earmarked for their bank accounts on books same as I did.
Being me I began to - what else - organize people around a central community building agenda. We bought different books so we could swap them around and each read more, more, more.
Books, is all I'm saying. books.
Since I finally have my brainwave/reading chops all the way back* I'm also planning to read two novels between now and winter socking-in enough that I'll need to read about gardens and nature full time. Rabih Alameddine is a strong fave novelist and this particular book knocked me out when I read it as a new release library book. Never have I more needed to read some kinda trickster-based word tincture than right now. Whatever this next perilous window of time may be like this book will 'work' at the drop-down personal level.
Okay - now for the post's dose of weirdness. I've had exactly two dreams so far in my life that involved a fictional character. One was about a month ago. A character named Ella appeared to suggest I read Mira Jacob's novel. She said it would give me real insight into her family of origin's oeuvre and thus who she is beyond her various purposes in the story. At the time I was struggling to actualize her to the point of readerly compassion rather than simply: Okay I immediately see what she's about. Except maybe you don't - perhaps not at all - unless I articulate additional fictional facts about her. People read for all kinds of reasons.
have I mentioned loving books?
*We're two weeks away from the fourth anniversary of my brain injury. Spent a great deal of mental/emotional time during the first two and a half years coming to terms with the fact that I might not be able to read anywhere close to my former level.
but I'm definitely back, baby...