Thursday, November 17, 2011

Books Read in Chincoteague (0 of 7): Introduction

am a reader. If I could be The Reader I would be, but in this day and age it seems that all of the archetypes have all been claimed, and all one can do is occupy an indefinite article.

In order to avoid a[nother] rant about [the sad state of] contemporary society, I will simply describe the situation, the setting for the seven posts I will make in the forthcoming fortnight. Once a year, every year for the last [20+] my family has vacationed in a small cottage on Chincoteague Island for a week. When I was smaller and/or younger, the purpose included daily trips to the ocean for sandcastle making and mole-crab catching, mom-made sandwiches and hours spent sitting in the porch swing listening to books on tape. 

books, boneshaker, not becoming my mother, shipping news, hell to pay, rereadings, vacation, readingNow the entire purpose seems to be to bike around the [nice, flat] island a bit, go for a long walk or two on [what's left of] Assateague Island and spend as much time as possible reading book after [quality] book. In my teens, I blazed through every book Anne McCaffrey had written in the space of approximately 48 hours (Slight exaggeration. May have been 72.). While I'm still not reading Joyce and James and Dostoevsky in the space of hours, I did manage a few decently mature books in the space of a week; a book a day for soothing a soul. 

And, somehow, the books I brought along matched my mental state and future-goals with aplomb. Each stood up and made its point across time and space, reaching me through excellent authors, stories and words. 

The overarching themes in a nutshell: From The Shipping News to Catch-22, a frabjous sense of optimism or hopeless-hope in the face of disaster, despair and delirium (Endless tie-in!), lessons on the paths we take through life to the place Ruth Reichl's mom teaches us to be: unshakably within our selves.

Then, from Boneshaker back to Shipping News, a sense of community and grand purpose pervading humanity in times of challenge and need. Reichl's mother proselytizes steadfast self-confidence, but the citizens of Proulx's Newfoundland will tell you: in the end, only the wind and the sea will have their way.

Stay tuned for seven (7!) upcoming (short) book reviews...

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