I usually read without ceasing. I jump from one finished book to a new one without pausing. I have books waiting in the wings, magazines flagged for consumption and a constant mental list of what I want to read (which currently includes Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay). Except for this summer. I periodically go through lags when I just don’t read as much. My job involves a lot of research, so I still read everyday at work, but sometimes I find other things to do at home. This summer it’s been shelling peas and making jam and pickles and playing with my kiddo.
[This seems like a good place to mention that I do read at home everyday to the baby. We read a lot of Sandra Boyton, Nancy Tillman, Dr. Seuss and an assortment of things from his ever expanding library. I’m talking about reading grownup books. So nobody go all judgmental or paranoid on me.]
Now with all that preamble out of the way, I can say that I picked up some leisure books again. I recently finished Dry Storeroom No. 1: The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum by Richard Fortey. Fortey is the retired trilobite man at the British Natural History Museum. I found this book as part of my reorganization efforts at work. I thoroughly enjoyed his biographical sketches of some of the former curators and Keepers–the most excellent museum job title around–and his explorations of the museum building itself. Of less interest to me personally was his impassioned defense of was taxonomy (the correct naming of species) matters. He makes a compelling argument for why names matter, but after he made that point, I really just wanted more about the weird geeks who have worked at the BM.
I also read the highly intellectual The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. I found it in my neighborhood’s Little Free Library, and it seemed like a good vacation book. I don’t normally read historical fiction because I find myself getting really pissy when authors don’t get the actual history right. Gregory definitely did her research though–as the long list of sources in the back attests. It was a fun read and a perfect for the lake. I’ll probably read some of her other books because I want to. I have found that the absolute beauty of reading lies in not having to defend my reading choices to anyone, including myself.
I am currently reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. It is a loan that I am really enjoying. I like the way that Riggs is combining found photographs and storytelling. It is making for a compelling and entertaining story. Some of the plot, especially the time bending, seems needlessly confusing, but I like the characters. At this point, I’m hoping they all make it to the next sequel.
So that’s what I’m reading at home when I have some spare minutes.