I Always Find Time to Read

Right now I’m reading several books: Julie and Julia by Julie Powell, a biography of Patricia Highsmith, Punching In by Alex Frankel, and several books on writing for magazines. I just love to read.

Right now I don’t know if I’m going to be laid off from my day job. I’m severely stressed from worrying. I won’t find out until early March if my job is going to be part-time or if I will get a severance package. I come home crying from the stress. Reading helps me to relax and get away from my troubles. I’d love to read every book in the world!

J.D. Salinger 1919-2010

J. D. Salinger has died. The famously reclusive author of Catcher in the Rye and many short stories was 91.

Salinger started publishing in The New Yorker at an early stage of his year. They eventually published 7 short stories. Catcher in the Rye, published in 1951, brought him fame and the kind of attention he grew to hate, although it made Holden Caulfield into an iconic literary creation (Holden had actually appeared earlier in a short story). While not as mysterious at Thomas Pynchon (who is he?!) Salinger retreated to the countryside of New Hampshire to try to lead a simple life.

Salinger apparently continued to write throughout his life, but simply stopped publishing his work after the 1960s. There is ongoing speculation about whether of this work will ever be published.

I always had written nonfiction because I thought that I couldn’t write fiction. It was frustrating. I couldn’t come up with ideas, of if I did, I couldn’t come up with interesting plots. I knew I was a talented writer, but why couldn’t I write fiction? Did I have no imagination? But I knew that wasn’t true. Journalism and essays came easily to me. My literature and journalism professors always told me I was gifted. Writing nonfiction was the one thing that I could do well. But I also wanted to write fiction.A few years ago, I re-read Salinger’s Nine Stories. I had read it before, but this time it was an epiphany. I read each story carefully, and really thought about it. Suddenly, I was brimming over with ideas of stories of my own. I started scribbling them down, but I could couldn’t write quickly enough. It was a real breakthrough. I have no idea if they are any good, but I keep on writing them. What joy!

Rest in Peace, Mr. Salinger.


In Sara Nelson’s wonderful book So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading, she calls reading two books at the same time “double-booking”. This is nothing new for me.

Sometimes I am so eager to read every book ever written that I am reading too many books at the same time. 

Right now I am reading at least four books. One for the bathroom, two for the nightstand, and one for my purse. The important thing is not to read books that are too similar to each other or it might get confusing!

Alphabet City

I have always been obsessed with the alphabet. Even as a very young child of 3 or 4, I always wanted to go over the alphabet with my mother. I had absolutely no interest in numbers (which is still true), but I loved letters. When I found out that they could form words, I was enthralled.

I never liked having my mother read books to me. I wanted to read them myself! I became absolutely obsessed with books from the beginning. I also found writing easy. I was writing short stories and even novels from the first grade. I was such a good reader in that grade that my teacher had be tutoring other students. I was six years old!

I remember when I was in the third grade. We were given a little children’s publication that had a section where we could order books at a deep discount. I just couldn’t decide which ones I wanted. They all sounded so interesting! I told my mother of my dilemma and she told me to buy all the books I wanted. They were so inexpensive and I really never asked for much. I handed in the order form to my teacher.

A few weeks later the teacher announced our books had arrived! One by one, the teacher placed our books on our desks. Most students received at least one book, and some had two or three. Then the teacher came to my desk and started to laugh as she stacked the books on my desk. I had ordered 21 books! I was a little embarrassed as this caused me to be the center of attention in class. I was an excellent student, but very shy.

I still love the alphabet, and now my interests have extended to such things as typography and fonts. I still love anything to do with the alphabet and with words!

Lunchtime Reading

The other day I was in the lunchroom at work. I took out my food from my lunch bag and then rummaged in the handbag for my ever-present Current Lunchtime Book.

No book.

Oh, no. I must have taken out my book last night when cleaning out the handbag and forgotten to put it back in! What to do?
I know that my book obsession has gotten out of control. I have books on the floor, books in the bathroom, books in my bed, and my car is so packed with books that I have dubbed it The Bookmobile. I scatter books when I walk. I always have several books that I am reading at the same time: The Bedtime Reading Book, the Bathroom Book, and of course the already-mentioned Lunchtime Book for my purse.

There are times when I have been so poor that I have had to choose between buying food and buying books (I’m talking about hard-to-find books, not books I can easily get at the library). The books usually win. I have spent weeks eating peanut butter sandwiches for lunch so that I can save up for a book I really want. If I am really enjoying a book, I rarely notice what I eat anyway.

Anyway, the employee lunchroom at my workplace has a built-in bookcase filled with books that other employees have brought in. I call it the Lunchroom Lending Library (to myself, not my bosses). I have in the past looked at these shelves, but nobody seems to ever put anything really interesting there. Except me, of course. I have contributed many interesting books to these shelves, to justify my taking an occasional book home.

So I forlornly studied the shelves. There are the usual Tom Clancy and Anne Rice titles, in which I admit that I have no interest, along with the dozens of romance novels. I have nothing against romance novels, but since the only romance author I really like is Betty Neels, there is nothing of interest.

Finally I spy a copy of Cornelius Ryan’s A Bridge Too Far, which has been on the shelf for years. I know that it is supposed to be a really good book, but since I have never really had that much interest in World War II, I have always ignored it. I also have never read Ryan’s classic or any of his other books, and shouldn’t I read about the war in chronological order? And it’s a LONG book. But I like history, so I decide to try it.

A Bridge Too Far was Ryan’s last book, written while he was dying of cancer, and it mostly takes place in September 1944. It is about the FAILED Allied invasion of Holland, Operation Market Garden, which I had never heard of before. When I started reading it, I was sure the Good Side had won. We didn’t win this battle, although of course we did win the war, which is more important.

I haven’t finished it yet, but I will say that it is INCREDIBLY detailed and that Ryan must have done years of interviews and research. It is really good. I had to laugh at one American officer who became exasperated with the British for not moving faster: “They were always stopping for tea.” Even during a critical invasion!

When I finish this book, I think I’ll go to the library and check out Cornelius Ryan’s other books.

It’s So Amazing

It’s so amazing that we live in a world where we can all share how we feel about different things. For instance, it’s so nice to know that there are other people out there who love books as much as I do. 

I hope to share with you the books that I have recently read, and will also discuss my writing career. I am submitting essays and short stories to publishers in the hopes of being published one day. 

I am also obsessed with cats, typography, fonts, obscure movies, and all sorts of weird things. I tend to be obsessed with the things I like. There are no half-way measures with me!