Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Return of Fiction

I've been reading a lot of non-fiction lately. First there were books on writing book proposals and on improving my freelance income, some of which I've finished, some I've set aside because I'm too busy actually working to read them. (I suppose that means I'm applying what I'm learning.) Then there was The Omnivore's Dilemma, which I finished this weekend after three months. I really enjoyed this book and I learned a lot of eye-opening (or eye re-opening in some cases) things about our American food culture, but non-fiction, however good, is just not the same as a good novel or story.

Non-fiction or fiction, I haven't touched a single book in my TBR Pile since April. I've been craving fiction, and the only way I've been able to feed that craving of late has been through some books on CD. I listened to Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman during my trip to visit my family. (Have you read this yet? I highly recommend it.) Love the One You're With by Emily Giffin came after that. And this week I've been listening to Swapping Lives by Jane Green in my car on the way to and from work. But I haven't had time to pick up a good novel or read some short stories, hold them in my hand and turn the pages of my imagination, without feeling guilty. It seemed there was always something else I should be doing. But last night, after an hour and a half working on a new essay, and thanks to Verizon failing me yet again so that I couldn't spend time reading blogs or my email, I picked a book off my shelves and spent an hour reading short stories from Ursula Hegi's collection, Hotel of the Saints.

Like an addict craving her fix, just the sight of the book cover, the feel of the pages between my fingers, made me giddy with anticipation. The smell of the paper and ink brought a smile to my face and I cozied up with the words. Ah...I've missed this, I thought as I immersed myself in the first story. Fiction--it's my vice.


34 Years said...

I can relate to that last paragraph, and I have a couple of books waiting to be cracked open right now - however other things get in the way...like, for starters, my cracktop that I'm typing on daily.

I tried listening to a book in the car once, and my mind would drift away immediately - it just wasn't happening. It was a Grishman book too, so it's not like it was a piece of crap writing. I drift when I read too, the words go in so fast that when something actually goes down in a book I'm constantly flipping back to figure out who's who. Can't do that as easily on a CD.

Joanne said...

Not a bad vice to have! There's nothing like the feel and weight of a book, pages. It's so very comforting, maybe b/c of the journey it invites?

Unknown said...

Neverwhere is one of my all-time favorite books. Glad you liked it. I have SUCH a literary crush on Neil Gaiman!

Ami said...

34 - I thought I'd have difficulty with books on CD, too, but on the long drives to work and to visit my family it really helps pass the time, even if my mind wanders a bit. It doesn't usually though, and if it does I just skip back a few tracks and listen again. :)

Joanne - I agree.

Cate - You're the one who introduced me to Neil Gaiman, so thanks!

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