Friday, August 05, 2005

What I'm reading

When people find out that I don't have a tv they are often bemused and assume that I must feel very strong opposition to television. I'm not actually anti-tv per se.When one is switched on in the same room I find it as, or possibly more, compelling to pay attention to than do most people. I'm sure that there are many programmes that I would enjoy watching and in fact I would be willing to live with a tv as long as it wasn't on all the time, and was at no financial cost to me. However, I get very annoyed by advertising (yes, I know there are some wonderful ads, the first time you see them) and as far as I can tell tv seems to be dominated by advertising both in the 'breaks' and in the shows as product placement and sponsorship. Admittedly its been about five years since I have had more than an incidental exposure to tv so things could have changed. Anyway, the truth is I can't be bothered making time for tv because there are too many books to be read (and made).

Currently I am trying to read eleven books simultaneously. This week, bookmarks have moved in the following:
  • The End of Oil by Paul Roberts
  • How to gaze at the southern stars by Richard Hall
  • How your horse wants you to ride- starting out, starting over by Gincy Self Bucklin
  • Deep River Talk- Collected poems by Hone Tuwhare
  • Prosperity Pie-How to relax about money and everything else by Sark
  • Mapping the World- A History of Exploration by Peter Whitfield
  • Bread and Roses by Sonja Davies (her biography)
  • Walden and other writings by Henry David Thoreau
  • Huts Cabins and Hideaways- little retreats by Jane Tidbury
  • The soul is here for its own joy-sacred poems from many cultures edited by Robert Bly
  • 400 wood boxes- the fine art of containment and concealment

Whew! Scattered around the house, there is always a book to distract me, every moment of stillness is a chance to get a few pages ahead in one or another. The ones I'm most called to look at today are the horse (substitute for horse riding lessons I can't have yet), huts (oooh pictures of grown-up treehouses) and river ("squirming, the land wriggles/in delight./We love her.") books. The ones I feel most obliged to finish first are Sonja Davies, Southern Stars and Mapping the World. No novels right now, as I am a terrible glutton for fiction and will ignore anything more worthy if I have started a good sci fi or mystery. All the above are borrowed, mostly from the library, some from friends, and I am feeling the pressure of looming obligations to return them.

Earlier this week I finished another book of poetry that was sort of like a novel, because after dabbling around as is my usual approach to poetry books, I realised that Sing-Song by Ann Kennedy contains a story which progresses from start to finish. The story is about her family life- falling in love, falling pregnant, getting married, moving houses, having babies and most of all about her daughter's experience with eczema.The story would have been a bit thin for a novel. It could have been a feature article in a magazine or a short story. But it is perfect as a sequence of poems weaving together emotion, sensation and social commentary.

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