Sunday, September 16, 2012

Putting the lit back in this twit

I've been feeling a little guilty lately about the lack of 'lit' on this blog.  It's bad enough that I can barely share my knits because they are for secret swaps, but to also not be able to talk about what I'm reading because I wasn't reading felt duplicitous somehow.

The problem with reading is that it is a mono-task.  These days, there's a premium placed on being able to do as much as possible simultaneously.  While with the right pattern I can knit and listen, reading requires my full attention.  And somehow the months slipped by without my having finished reading a single book.

My younger self would be horrified.  I used to take a book with me everywhere, and devote any spare moment to poking my nose back into my fictional world, reluctant to be tugged back into the real one.  After college, it just seems like the tugs have been stronger, and escaping into a book has become something which takes a more concerted effort.  Despite several sincere attempts in the recent past, I kept allowing books to collect dust in favor of knitting, nail polish, and of course, the time-suck generally known as the internet.

But this week, I turned a corner by turning 149 pages of a book called World of Pies.  I mentioned it earlier this week, it's the book I found at Half Price and made a serious dent in while not being selected for jury duty.  It was just a dollar in the clearance section, and aside from having baked goods in the title, I was swayed by the fact that this copy had been signed by the author at BookPeople.  If you're in Austin and haven't been there yet, I can only conclude that you also have fallen into a terrible non-reading gap, because this is an awesome bookstore.  It's two stories full of books, and they have great author events.  I used to write about them weekly for Examiner, and would invariably end up wanting to read whatever book I was writing about.

While this book starts with a pie fair, the baking influence is more indirect throughout the rest of the novel.  It's the story of a girl growing up in the small town of Annette, Texas, and along with the kind of milestones you would expect (births, deaths, marriages, war, etc.), each event is marked with food.  A few pies, of course, plenty of cakes, and some muffins, brownies, and even a frozen salad for good measure.  Sprinkled throughout the story, the recipes for these goodies are also in the back of the book, so I might try one or two out sometime.

Along with the food, there was another comforting context I enjoyed while reading, though it won't apply to everyone.  Because author Karen Stolz is a local.  Even though she's from Kansas, she lives in Austin now, and her heroine Roxanne also resides in my fair city for several years in the novel.  There's something fun about seeing a place you know, like Barton Springs, whether it shoots across the screen in a TV show or movie, or shows up in the middle of a story you're reading.

Anyway, I enjoyed this easy read.  It got me back into the groove of reading, reminding me what it feels like to hypnotically turn page after page whenever you get the chance, and to cast furtive glances towards the cover whenever you don't.  I'll give myself a day or two to transition out of the world of Annette, and then hope the sugar rush will see me through the pages of another book.

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