I’ve been a reading mood lately. I mean more than usual, the kind you cannot ignore, the type of mood that sucks your inner being and constantly romps around in your head until you give in.
I think other people might call this a problem or obsession, but I’m stickin’ to my guns and calling it a mood.
I have been so much in a reading mood that I have skipped two runs this week so that I could shed my day clothes with lightning speedy, snuggle tightly up in my fleece robe, remove my dried-up contacts, replace my vision with my crooked-slightly-over-sized spectacles, and permanently sprawl my pale body on our comfy olive-green couch for the remainder of the evening, book in eager hand.
I even forgot to eat dinner because I was so heavily enthralled with the string of words I was absorbing. But, I feel full and satisfied. Reading can do that to you.
This all started last Friday, when I was flying home from CA, and this book jumped off the shelf of some random over-priced shop in the airport:
This book has been smugly hidden in my purse, so I can read at any and all free moments.
Immediately, I bought it. I had to have it. I ♥ B. Kingsolver.
Have you read her books?
Are you obsessed with her stories?
Do you sometimes wish you were like one of her characters?
Do you secretly want to visit her on her ranch?
She is such an earthy lookin’ soul.
Other notable books by her:
- The Posionwood Bible, Prodigal Summer (<– MY FAVORITE), Pigs in Heaven, Animal Dreams, The Bean Trees, The Lacuna, and many more.
LOOOOOOOOVE this book. I can’t even explain.
Here are the top 5 reasons why I love Barbara and think she is fantastic in every way possible:
1. Previously, she was a scientist with a degree in Biology. All of her books reflect this beautifully.
She knows her facts. She knows all about various environmental issues and insects and animals. Just read the opening pages of ‘Prodigal Summer’ and you can so easily imagine this long-legged rustic woman hiking around the forest alone. If you need a taste of nature, these books will give you a whole feast. Here is the opening (skip it if you don’t have time to read it….. but Brittany, I can totally see you as this character with your love for nature):
“Her body moved with the frankness that comes from solitary habits. But solitude is only a human presumption. Every quiet step is thunder to beetle life underfoot; every choice is a world made new for the chosen. All secrets are witnessed.
If someone in this forest had been watching her—a man with a gun, for instance, hiding inside a copse of leafy beech trees—he would have noticed how quickly she moved up the path and how direly she scowled at the ground ahead of her feet. He would have judged her an angry woman on the trail of something hateful.
He would have been wrong. She was frustrated, it’s true, to be following tracks in the mud she couldn’t identify. She was used to being sure. But if she’d troubled to inspect her own mind on this humid, sunlit morning, she would have declared herself happy.
She loved the air after a hard rain, and the way a forest of dripping leaves fills itself with a sibilant percussion that empties your head of words. Her body was free to follow its own rules: a long-legged gait too fast for companionship, unself-conscious squats in the path where she needed to touch broken foliage, a braid of hair nearly as thick as her forearm falling over her shoulder to sweep the ground whenever she bent down. Her limbs rejoiced to be outdoors again, out of her tiny cabin whose log walls had grown furry and overbearing during the long spring rains. The frown was pure concentration, nothing more. Two years alone had given her a blind person’s indifference to the look on her own face.
All morning the animal trail had led her uphill, ascending the mountain, skirting a rhododendron slick, and now climbing into an old-growth forest whose steepness had spared it from ever being logged. But even here, where a good oak-hickory canopy sheltered the ridge top, last night’s rain had pounded through hard enough to obscure the tracks. She knew the animal’s size from the path it had left through the glossy undergrowth of mayapples, and that was enough to speed up her heart. It could be what she’d been looking for these two years and more. This lifetime. But to know for sure she needed details, especially the faint claw mark beyond the toe pad that distinguishes canid from feline. That would be the first thing to vanish in a hard rain, so it wasn’t going to appear to her now, however hard she looked. Now it would take more than tracks, and on this sweet, damp morning at the beginning of the world, that was fine with her. She could be a patient tracker. Eventually the animal would give itself away with a mound of scat (which might have dissolved in the rain, too) or something else, some sign particular to its species. A bear will leave claw marks on trees and even bite the bark sometimes, though this was no bear. It was the size of a German shepherd, but no house pet, either. The dog that had laid this trail, if dog it was, would have to be a wild and hungry one to be out in such a rain.
She found a spot where it had circled a chestnut stump, probably for scent marking. She studied the stump: an old giant, raggedly rotting its way backward into the ground since its death by ax or blight. Toadstools dotted the humus at its base, tiny ones, brilliant orange, with delicately ridged caps like open parasols. The downpour would have obliterated such fragile things; these must have popped up in the few hours since the rain stopped – after the animal was here, then. Inspired by its ammonia. She studied the ground for a long time, unconscious of the elegant length of her nose and chin in profile, unaware of her left hand moving near her face to disperse a cloud of gnats and push stray hair out of her eyes. She squatted, steadied herself by placing her fingertips in the moss at the foot of the stump, and pressed her face to the musky old wood. Inhaled.
“Cat,” she said softly, to nobody. Not what she’d hoped for, but a good surprise to find evidence of a territorial bobcat on this ridge. The mix of forests and wetlands in these mountains could be excellent core habitat for cats, but she knew they mostly kept to the limestone river cliffs along the Virginia-Kentucky border. And yet here one was. It explained the cries she’d heard two nights ago, icy shrieks in the rain, like a woman’s screaming. She’d been sure it was a bobcat but still lost sleep over it. No human could fail to be moved by such human-sounding anguish. Remembering it now gave her a shiver as she balanced her weight on her toes and pushed herself back upright to her feet.
And there he stood, looking straight at her. He was dressed in boots and camouflage and carried a pack larger than hers. His rifle was no joke—a thirty-thirty, it looked like. Surprise must have stormed all over her face before she thought to arrange it for human inspection. It happened, that she ran into hunters up here. But she always saw them first. This one had stolen her advantage—he’d seen inside her.”
I took this two falls ago. Pretty nature.
2. Lead Woman with real woman thoughts.
Maybe this is because the author is a woman, but I love it when any woman is portrayed accurately, with confidence, fears, and emotions. Kingsolver’s women are a delight to read about and you hope with them, wish for them, and grow to love them. And you can picture them exactly as she describes them.
3. Sex, Romance, and Lust.
Everyone loves a little love.
The look of true loves.
Her books have just enough of this to keep you turning each page and wondering when and where things will happen. Sometimes it is outside, in the rain, where sparks fly between characters. Sometimes it is in the most wrong and mundane area, like a dried-up crop with miles of nothingness.
Rain is romantic.
4. Katrina Kittle loves her.
K. Kittle (<– link to her website) is one of my other favorite authors. I MET her and took a WRITING workshop WITH HER. She actually read what I wrote and listened, taught, and laughed with me. Basically, it was the best thing ever. But she loves Kingsolver, so therefore, I love her too.
She also is very pretty and down-to-earth. I would start with her The Blessings of the Animals… which will make you want to buy a horse or two.
The perfect pets?
5. Her books make you think.
Whenever I read a Kingsolver book, I always have to take time each read and think about what I just read and relate it to my own experiences, relationships, and life. It is like I have to take time to digest it all. I find myself reading sentences over and over or replaying scenes in my head. Her books are the kind that hang around in your head and make you walk around in different parts of your brain, that have sat doormat for years.
Does that make sense?
It is a good kind of thinking, I promise. The kind of thinking that brings happiness to one’s daily routine and makes you crave life just a little bit more.
Man, I really need to start a book club. Seriously! I need to discuss this book, over wine and fine cheeses and bread.
Have you read any good books lately? Please share.