Saturday, February 19, 2011

Added to the collection

When I first announced my goal for this year was to read 111 books, a girlfriend of mine said “Give yourself a real challenge”. But when I explained to her that to achieve 111 books in a year required me to read one every three days, she realised that perhaps I did have a challenge on my hands.

I was then asked if audio books were included. “Only if I get desperate,” I replied.

“Is War and Peace on your list?” asked another friend. “Depends how far ahead of my schedule I get!”
These questions brought to light some logistics surrounding my “Year of Reading”. Was there a minimum number of pages per book? Did short stories count? What about children’s books? Poems – could they be included?

But I’ve shied away from such rules and have just decided there are no rules. I’ll read what I feel like reading. So far, my shortest book has been 150 pages; my longest 460 – I figure it will all balance out in the end. But I did still feel the tiniest bit guilty when I chose from the bookshelf Tinkers, by Paul Harding.  

A small, A5-sized paperback just 190 pages long. Yet I couldn’t put it back. For starters it bore the sticker “Winner of the Pulitzer Prize” – surely that’s worth a read. Then I noticed it was set in New England and the author himself lives near Boston – my favourite place in the USA. And as I read the synopsis...
“An old man lies dying. As time collapses into memory, he travels deep into his past where he is reunited with his father and relives the wonder and pain of his impoverished New England youth. At once heartbreaking and life affirming, Tinkers is an elegiac meditation on love, loss and the fierce beauty of nature.”
... I realised this was a book I had to have.

If it only takes me an afternoon to read, so be it. And what’s more, the kettle has just boiled, so I’m putting my feet up, cup of tea in hand, to read Tinkers

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