Don’t Read This Blog Post. Read a Book.

Even though most of my days consist of the following: Grammar Grammar Grammar Poetry Grammar Grammar Spanish Grammar Grammar Lunch Grammar Grammar Run Grammar Grammar Grade Composition Grammar, I do manage to get out of my house
a
few
times
a
year.

One evening last week, I decided to take a night off from adulting, and I got all dressed up and went to The Library and checked out Books That I Like. This past week, I’ve been enjoying a fat book of poems (selected by Garrison Keillor) that includes a variety of poems organized around different subjects like “God,” “Trips,” “Lovers,” “Snow,” and my personal favorite category, “Yellow,” featuring the poem: “Elvis Kissed Me.” (?)

In this collection, I stumbled upon this little Dickinsonian gem:

“We Grow Accustomed to the Dark” by Emily Dickinson

We grow accustomed to the Dark –
When Light is put away –
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Good bye –

A Moment – We Uncertain step
For newness of the night –
Then – fit our Vision to the Dark –
And meet the Road – erect –

And so of larger – Darknesses –
Those Evenings of the Brain –
When not a Moon disclose a sign –
Or Star – come out – within –

The Bravest – grope a little –
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead –
But as they learn to see –

Either the Darkness alters –
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight –
And Life steps almost straight.

No, but seriously, a poem a day is a good thing.

So is peeling myself away from social media and letting myself be engrossed in a book, like my current classic, Great Expectations, which I’m reading for the first time (I knew I had to after I saw the movie). #lameenglishteacher

I absolutely love it. It’s quite readable, compared to A Tale of Two Cities. And I love the main character, yet despise him. I know him because he is human. He is us.

Halfway through the novel, readers understand Pip’s self-serving nature, and the older narrator laments his convenient behavior that in hindsight so obviously served his selfish desires rather than his fellow man, the product of which is quite dismal in any human.

“All other swindlers upon earth are nothing to self-swindlers, and with such pretences did I cheat myself. Surely a curious thing. That I should innocently take a bad half-crown of somebody else’s manufacture, is reasonable enough; but that I should knowingly reckon on the spurious coin of my own make, as good money! An obliging stranger, under pretence of company folding up my bank-notes for security’s sake, abstracts the notes and gives me nutshells; but what is his sleight of hand to mine, when I fold up my own nutshells and pass them on myself as notes.”

Oh, Dickens.

This weekend I also slipped away to Goshen’s art-themed First Friday event and after browsing works by local artists enjoyed a Nutella mocha at one of my favorite coffee shops. I also bought coffee beans from a girl with blue hair who smiled at me. It is so nice to be smiled at.

And of course we had time to browse my favorite Goshen book shop, complete with old, creaky wooden floors, and tall old bookshelves, where I picked up yet another book but refused to feel guilty about it because it’s a genre I rarely read: contemporary fiction. Actually, technically, it’s contemporary nonfiction, but it reads like a novel. I read the first chapter surrounded by my friends who were arguing about the history of Mennonite women as we sat at a small round table shoved between two rows of bookshelves. In the first chapter, this fifty year old guy marries a sixteen year old girl even though he already has a wife. I bought the book because I was so disgusted (yet intrigued at the same time). How does one begin to understand a culture that foreign? Looking forward to reading The Bookseller of Kabul! (Even though it’s written by a Westerner, and the Afghan man that she wrote about sued her, saying she defamed his character, his family, and his country.) That sounds a little complex. Hopefully, I will read critically.

What are you reading right now? What do you WANT to be reading right now?

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One thought on “Don’t Read This Blog Post. Read a Book.”

  1. Oh, I want to know what you think of the book… I skimmed a couple chapters and then had to leave the book with its owner….

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