the immediate book meme
(just another excuse to talk about books)
I’m always so surprised when January is cold. Once the end-of-year festivities are over I tend to expect the cold to come down with the decorations. It’s a treat when it doesn’t.
I hope you’ve had a good first-month-of-the-year. The odds (and papers) tell me you’ve probably been down with covid, like me, so I’m going to proceed under the assumption that we’re all sick here. Or we have been for the past fourteen days, or we will be for the next fourteen days. I know it sucks. Take respite in the fact that it will be over soon. (Ish.) In the mean time, hack your lungs out and eat your vitamins.
This newsletter is going to be a book meme that I stole from Simcha Fisher, who is hilarious. REMEMBER BOOK MEMES? Remember calling them memes instead of challenges? I think this might be a remnant from 2013 Tumblr or my LiveJournal days. I love memes. Always wanted to do a meme.
I initially thought the meme would make a good video for the gram, but I had one too many bad hair days in a row and now I’m off social media for 90 days (for reasons I will explain later) so you’re getting it in the form of an email. Sorry.
What book are you reading right now?
A few! I started The Professor and the Madman: A tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary in December but then abandoned it during my covid spell because it ended up being far more drab than I thought it would be.
It’s a pity because I was really looking forward to this book! I love non-fictions about unbelievable things that actually happened and this one seemed really promising. I feel like the author’s getting a little too bogged down in the details though and it’s just not fun. I stopped at 50% a couple of weeks ago. I should probably get back to it but [whines].
I’m also about 15% of the way through Macbeth because I read If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio last year and that book is basically Shakespeare with some prose in between. It made me yearn for the drama of a good iambic pentameter and I was always meaning to get around to Macbeth so I picked it up. Progress has been slow, though.
I’m also reading Genesis aka the first book of the Bible. I’ve never read the Bible in its entirety (I know, gasp) but I’m determined to do that this year! There’s been so much to unpack in Genesis — I’m a little over halfway through — but by far my favourite thing about reading it is that I finally know for sure who’s the father of whom. If that sounds silly to you, you’ve probably never attended Sunday school. It gets confusing, okay?
Anyway here’s my favourite bit from Genesis so far:
So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
this one shall be called Woman,
for out of Man this one was taken.”
It’s just so romantic.
What book did you just finish?
I went a bit stir-crazy during quarantine and read six books in two weeks. The one I just finished reading is To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo. Remember when I said that I hate fantasy, multiple times, and really really loudly? Yeah, turns out I don’t. I just hate Ursula K. Le Guin.
This book is fantastic. It’s a darker re-telling of The Little Mermaid but with sirens. It’s also a love story. There’s a lot of stealing hearts involved (the romantic kind and the murderous kind). The world building is satisfyingly complex but easy to follow, and I loved how the female protagonist is so messed up and real. I didn’t know fantasy could be like this!
Let’s go from fantasy to non-fiction. The first book I read this year, one I picked up just after I recovered from my fever and chills, was The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson.
It’s a fascinatingly TRUE story about a young hillbilly preacher who moves to New York in the 50s to talk about Jesus to members of street gangs. I was absolutely amazed by this man’s conviction, fearlessness, and complete reliance on God. It made me want to immediately take to the roads and do something for the kingdom of God! But I was stuck in bed, so I rode it out.
It just amazes me how people like this can exist today, when we have so many distractions to pull us away from the meat and potatoes of life. And I’m thankful that John and Elizabeth Sherrill have taken it upon themselves to document these stories. (They also assisted in the writing of God’s Smuggler, which I reviewed here.)
What do you plan to read next?
I’ve borrowed what’s essentially an English textbook from my good friend Larry:
It has some short stories I’ve always been meaning to read, like A Christmas Carol and The Pied Piper of Hamlin, along with some truly ridiculous little ditties, like this one called ‘I Meant To Do My Work Today’ by Richard Le Gallienne:
I meant to do my work today
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.
And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand—
So what could I do but laugh and go?
What a vibe.
I also want to finally get to Orconomics: A Satire by J. Zachary Pike. I was gifted this one for my birthday last year by a friend who spoke very highly of it. It’s fantasy humour and seems to be quite promising, and if I learnt anything from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (which I listened to in audiobook form in December) it’s that I love fantasy humour.
What book do you keep meaning to finish?
That’s an easy one: On The Road by Jack Kerouac.
I was so extremely excited for this one but it’s been two months and I’m only halfway through. If Mr Kerouac wanted to write his great American novel did he have to make it so unreadable?
What book do you keep meaning to start?
I borrowed Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey from a friend but just haven’t been able to get myself to start in on it.
I don’t particularly like knowing more about celebrities than I absolutely need to, so I’m hoping that this book ends up being at least a little bit funny. I just read the New Yorker’s profile of Jeremy Strong (in with Matty McCon makes a quick cameo) and I’m in the mood to laugh at famous people who take themselves too seriously. So maybe I’ll pick this up soon.
What is your current reading trend?
I’m trying to lean more into classics and away from the dumb magazine fiction that I keep getting recommended on various social media platforms. But sometimes you need a good dumb magazine fiction to get you through the night. The trick (I’m told) is to strike a balance between the two.
I also intend to make my way through all the books I have lying around the house that I haven’t read yet. Reader, there are so many. I have a couple of Bukowskis I’m dying to read. So I’ll probably be tending towards paperbacks until I’m done with (most of) them.
That’s it! It’s been a while since I did a media update. That felt good. One of my resolutions this year has been to write more, and in light of that I’ve been toying with the idea of bumping my newsletter up to twice a month. Let’s see how that goes!
So I’m going to be off social media for the next three months, or until Easter. I’m attempting this challenge called Magnify 90, which is a 90-day challenge for Christian women to grow in spirituality and asceticism. It’s pretty daunting but I’m doing it with a friend so at least I have company. Please pray that I’m able to stick to it! And pray especially that I can stay away from snacking. 😅
You guys have been exceedingly kind in response to my last newsletter! If you missed it, go read about how I’m giving up piracy in 2022. You can also buy me a book for as little as ₹75 to support me in my resolution 😁
That’s all for today! Thanks for reading, and stay safe out there.