Time to Read

Recently, I found myself with plenty of time to read, and it was a welcome luxury. I actually finished three books in the past few weeks: Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende; Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert; and Freaky Deaky by Elmore Leonard (which I’ve heard—and I didn’t know this when I bought it at a dusty store in Philly for a few bucks— is slated to be made into a movie next year).

I’ve read a few other Allende books, and have had Daughter of Fortune for a year or two (hey, that counts toward number 61 on The List!) and decided it was a good book to join me for my trip to the West Coast. Fittingly, the plot starts in Chile (in Valparaiso, which I loved, and where I’d thought about living) and ends in California during the Gold Rush. I enjoyed the historical aspects of the novel, and enjoyed the story as well. It’s written from the perspective of a narrator who knows how it’s all going to end, and there are just enough hints and foreshadowing to keep you pushing forward, curious to know how it will all turn out.

Eat, Pray, Love was actually an audiobook, one of several I got for free through a coupon that came with my mp3 player, but it still counts. The annoying thing about an audiobook—especially one that you have a lot to say about—is that it feels weird to say “This book I’m reading,” when I’m not technically reading it, and “This book I’m listening to” is a little awkward. But, the neat thing about audiobooks is that sometimes they’re read by the authors, like this one was, and that’s a special treat. Like going to a very long book reading, that you can start and stop anytime you want. And especially with a personal book like this one, it was cool to hear how the author read her own story. I’m not sure where to start in “reviewing” this book. Obviously a story about a 30-something woman who’s on her own after a string of serious, heartbreaking relationships, and who spends a year traveling/living abroad to get back on track, resonates with me in some ways. I could relate to a lot of things she said because I’ve been to those places, or have experienced similar things, or am hoping for similar experiences now that I’m staying in one place abroad for a while. It has more of a spiritual bent than my life does right now, but Gilbert handles it in such a way that it didn’t alienate me or turn me off. This book has been at the tops of lots of “best of” lists and has been selling like hotcakes since it came out, and I can see why. I highly recommend it.

I bought Freaky Deaky because it was a lightweight, slightly dogeared mass-market paperback that only cost a few bucks and that I wouldn’t mind ditching in Argentina. And, because I thought one of the items on The List was “read a crime novel.” Turns out the task is to read a mystery novel, so I can’t cross that one off, but it was enjoyable nonetheless, and pushed me off of my recent contemporary fiction/travel narrative/memoir/historical nonfiction track, which was the whole point with the genres included on The List. 

Now work and apartment-hunting have moved to the forefront of my days, but I’m still trying to squeeze in a little reading before bed if not at other times during the day. I think tonight I’m going to read a little from the Argentina Reader, then tomorrow I might pick something up from the library at SAE when I go for Spanish conversation class—I’ve seen quite a few things on their shelves that I’d like to read.

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3 Responses to “Time to Read”

  1. santoki Says:

    I was thinking about that whole reading/listening conundrum not too long ago. When I was telling someone that I was reading, well listening to this random book, I got a smirk. What. It does so count. I like to think of it as reading to kids. Still counts, right? xox

    BTW: I pressed 7 instead of 9 and your message went the way of the dodo. Whoops! Send # again? xoxoxox

  2. rebecca Says:

    i love Allende’s earlier books, but the newer ones seem to lack the magical realism that i enjoyed so much in the Eva Luna books, or House of the Spirits. But she’s always a must-read, regardless. i don’t think i’ve read any Elmore Leonard. might have to give him a try if you liked him. i think some of his books are about horses or horse races, so maybe those will appeal to me. so glad you got around to eat, pray, love. it was one of my favorite books last year. and listening to Gilbert read it must have been wonderful. and on mp3? wow. good luck with advancing your spanish reading skills. i’ve often thought i should buy a spanish-language children’s book and try to learn that way.

  3. Amy Says:

    That’s true, this book definitely didn’t have the magical realism of the others (although there’s some “healing”), but it was still a good read. The Leonard book was okay, but nothing amazing. Like an airport novel. Quick, easy, entertaining. So if that’s what you’re looking for, go for it! But as we know, there are so many other books to read…

    My Spanish reading skills are moving slowly. I’m not reading something everyday like I had planned, but I’ll get there. (Did this come up b/c of the Argentina Reader? That’s not in Spanish, it’s all translated to English.) Anyway, children’s books are a great way to learn; I’ve been meaning to buy one or two that someone here recommended.

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