Since I got promoted back in May, I’ve had the luxury of taking an hour lunch every day at work, which I didn’t really like at first because it just means it’s thirty more minutes that I have to be “at work” rather than at home or somewhere else. It’s nice because it means I have time to go out to lunch and actually relax and take a break in the middle of the day, but since I usually don’t leave because I pack my lunch, the best thing about having the whole hour is that it gives me time to read.
Yeah, yeah. I’m a nerd. Whatever. I love to read, and have ever since I was a little kid. Ever since college, though, it’s been harder for me to read just for pleasure — I think partially because I associate reading with homework (BLECK) and being an English major I was required to read a lot of crap that I didn’t necessarily want to read. I also just don’t have the same attention span that I had when I was younger. I could read for hours and hours at a time, but these days it’s not as easy for me to bury myself in a book like I used to. I don’t know what it is, but it’s just harder for me to focus and get into the story, and after reading for a while I inevitably get sleepy.
That’s why having the hour lunch has been great. Especially since I graduated, I’ve really missed reading and have wanted to reclaim it as a habit and a hobby. I certainly haven’t slowed down on buying books, but I have piles of them that I haven’t even opened since I impulsively snatched them off the shelves at Half Priced Books. My hour lunch is the perfect time for me to read — there are (usually) no distractions and I don’t have the option to lay down the book to “rest my eyes” and end up napping for two hours instead.
Plus, I’ve been reading some pretty good books lately, and having the time to dig into them during my lunch break at work has made me want to spend more time reading at home, too. I usually read a little bit before bed, and I’ve been trying to pick up a book sometimes when I’m hanging around the apartment instead of instinctively going straight for my laptop every time I have an idle moment. It’s been nice.
A few books I’ve enjoyed lately:
Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore
This was my second book of Christopher Moore’s, Lamb being the first. I think I liked this one better than Lamb because it was a little more accessible for me. Lamb‘s a great book, but I definitely didn’t “get” it as much as a lot of people would because I wasn’t raised in a religious environment and, in all honesty, don’t know that much about biblical stories. Practical Demonkeeping was a fun novel though, and I felt like Christopher Moore’s talent as a writer came through more than in Lamb. The humor felt less corny to me, and it made me want to read more of his books to see where else his dark sense of humor can go.
Bad Desire by Gary Devon
This is Gary Devon’s second novel, and while I liked his first novel, Lost, I thought Bad Desire was much, much better. It’s about the mayor of a small town who falls in love with a 17 year old girl and the obstacles he has to overcome to pursue the relationship. Obviously, it’s pretty fucking creepy, but it was really well-written and honestly, I couldn’t put it down. Gary Devon lived in Indiana, and I found out about him because I went to college with his son, who was a close friend of mine who often bragged about how his dad knew Kurt Vonnegut because he did some Indiana writer’s workshop with him or something. I’m glad I finally read this book because it was one of the best that I’ve read this year, and I’ll definitely be buying his third novel, Wedding Night, from Amazon sometime in the future.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
This year I started exchanging letters with my eighth grade English teacher, who also lives two doors down from my mom. She’s a hip, hip lady, and it’s been fun having her as a pen pal, especially when she sends me books. She asks genuine questions about books I like, and I got her into Cormac McCarthy because I recommended The Road to her. In return, she recommended The Handmaid’s Tale to me and sent me a used copy of it that she had laying around, along with a copy of Feed by M.T. Anderson. I didn’t love this book, but it was definitely a good read. It reminded me of something I would have read for school — it’s about a future dystopian society, so it has that Brave New World vibe, except in this future, if you’re married to a powerful man and you can’t have children, your household is assigned a Handmaid, a woman who is used to breed with your husband to produce a child for your family. Fucking crazy, and in many ways, very topical for the conversations going on lately about reproductive rights.
What have you been reading lately? I love suggestions.